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Antwood: Virtuous.scr

Track List

>Overlay Network
>Interlude, Pt. 2
>Spirit Fabric
>Prototype HA
>Uncanny Valley
>Yontoo How to Get Rid

Album Notes

The debut full-length by Canadian electronic artist Antwood (Tristan Douglas) is a suspenseful, richly detailed work inspired by artificial intelligence and the producer's background in molecular biology. His previous recordings (issued under the moniker Margaret Antwood) incorporated the jittery beats of footwork as well as fractured rhythms in line with the post-Night Slugs school of deconstructed club music, and while those influences are present here, the album is generally more abstract and less tethered to the dancefloor. His tracks unfold at their own pace rather than any predictable structure, and he incorporates moments of silence between the waves of synths and thudding beats, which sometimes resemble a round of machine-gunfire. The album is very tense and paranoid, with the sounds of surveillance cameras, police sirens, and smashing glass incorporated into the sound design, not to mention several sinister growling or whispering voices. When the tracks do come together into propulsive rhythms, they're aggressive, sometimes playful puzzles of synthesizer squiggles, shuddering drums, and other strange sounds. On tracks like "Spirit Fabric," he draws the rhythm out, stretching the tempo in several directions like an elastic band. One of the album's most intense moments is "Prototype HA," which opens with trance arpeggios before riding a hard, bouncing beat to a head-spinning collage of rapid-fire blasts, lion roars, eerie noises similar to the opening guitars from ESG's "UFO," and several other disconcerting sounds. The album's second half places a bit more of an emphasis on wistful melodies, making it feel like witnessing robots developing human feelings. "Uncanny Valley" seems to toss in some chopped-up smooth jazz sax samples along with the hailstorm of electronic percussion and evil mutant voices. Finale "Yontoo How to Get Rid" begins with the shimmering sounds of digital steel drums, eventually shifting to rumbling bass and a wash of glitchy ambient synths, along with sweeps that sound like airplanes flying by. Virtuous.scr is an exciting, unpredictable album that brilliantly examines technological paranoia and emotional machinery. ~ Paul Simpson


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