Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Review: ∆AIMON – '∆aimon'


San Diego's ∆AIMON, AKA Brant Showers & Nancy Lutz have made a big impact in a relatively short space of time. Their ritualistic down-tempo idm soundscapes laden with spooky vocals has filled a number of well-received albums and EPs and seen them heralded within and beyond the realms of the witch-house genre they were initially identified with.

2012's 'Flatliner' saw the duo embark on a dense and disturbing journey that focussed heavily on the band's dark ambient leanings. The band's self-titled follow-up however incorporates a renewed focus on heavy rhythms which instantly recall the likes of iVardensphere and Juno Reactor as well as Laibach. The beats are abundant and the tempos are generally more dance friendly... and dare I say... accessible? With tracks like 'Seraphim', 'Balance', 'Amen', 'EXU REI' and 'APOSTATIC' exhibiting an undeniable groove and a twisted sense of melody that blends rhythmic noise, industrial, ambient and trip-hop elements with great effect. However even the most toe-tappingly pleasing tracks still throw a curve ball with stuttering percussion breakdowns and low-frequency static saturating the mixes.

The album is still gratifyingly experimental at its core and the production reflects this. It is a loud and powerful mix with ever-present distortion keeping even the most sublime melodies sounding rough-and low-fi. Yet it doesn't sound cheap or rushed because of it. Despite the band's impressive release schedule, there is plenty of attention to detail with nothing sounding out-of-place in the final mixdown.

Contentious attempts at genre-classifications aside, ∆AIMON are one of the few genuinely exciting and innovative young bands around at the moment. Their hunger for different sounds and ways of working and an innate ability to seamlessly merge genres means that you never quite know what you're going to get, but you know it will be different to the last time.

'∆aimon' illustrates a continued growth from the duo in terms of both song-writing and performance. The album is a striking balance between the dark and melodic and will no doubt continue to win over new fans.

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