Sole Massif, Tineidae, Access to Arasaka - Engage
This review was commissioned. However, it bears no weight on the score or decision. All reviews are written from an unbiased standpoint.
The collaboration of Sole Massif, Tineidae, and Access to Arasaka begins out as much as one would expect it to begin. A track titled ‘Tactical Engagement’ begins with an eerie synth with a tad bit of feedback, which echoes so many sci-fi soundtracks that came before it. A sweeping echo regurgitates its importance in the infinite cosmos, both beckoning forth an interstellar journey and a musical epic. About one-minute and fifty-two seconds of cinematic ambiance passes before we’re hit with deep cuts of lasers, bass, and general IDM structures. It sounds much like something that would have been present during the peak of Tympanik Audio industrious reign – and should be praised for it.
The beginning of ‘Power Disruption’ matches its namesake, with sounds resembling that of flowing electricity and short-circuited machines spritzing. The very essence of the intro of it could easily be described as noise, and that’s what I’m sticking with, but it never falls into the category of bedroom producers who simply make noise to hurt their listeners’ ears. However, what comes next is a sloppy execution of techno, industrial, or even gabber elements. It seems to me as if the trio was trying to find a rhythm, a beat, to hone in and focus on. But rather than delivering that, I get a very chopped up and generally frustrating listening experience. Frustrating due to the fact that while they had the potential to turn this song into something great, they didn’t.
While I find the production values on ‘Defensive Position’ to be grand, I find the overall structure of the track to be rather boring. It falls into many tropes of the drone genre, utilizing spatial ambiance to be the meat of the track rather than using the trio’s interconnected IDM, glitch, techno, and dark ambient experiences to turn out something great. It’s not terrible, but it’s not as grand as I wanted it to be. There’s semblance of hope throughout the track wherein moody synth pieces are covered in the background, or crawling electronic samples delicately play in the foreground, but it’s not entirely enough to keep me captivated.
The last song on the album takes a bit of an industrial turn and shows off what ‘Power Disruption’ should have been more like. The whirling electronics and sci-fi introductory notes, amplified by static feedback as if radio chatter has been shut down, are over quickly enough that it doesn’t become a nuisance. A slow beat crawls in as synths fly overhead and dozens upon dozens of interesting and extraterrestrial samples are used in excess. A fascinating and exploratory dive into the unknown showcasing the power and capabilities of all three of these producers and artists.
“Engage” has two major ups and two not quite terrible, but disappointing tracks to sift through. The buns of this sandwich are obviously the tastiest part of this concoction, with the filling in between being a bit rough and disorienting. Nonetheless, the two tracks on the end are more than worth both your time and patience – and, who knows, maybe you’ll find something to appreciate in ‘Power Disruption’ and ‘Defensive Position’. 7 out of 10.
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.
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