Electronic tunes to soundtrack electrical storms, Getintothis‘ Aaron Farrell gets to grips with Afternaut’s latest offering, Transmission.
It’s a daunting prospect writing about Merseyside talent. It’s even more scary writing about Merseyside talent with regards to electronic music. A growing contingent of electronica producers, artists and bands are coming out in force in Merseyside, and some are astonishingly good.
We’ve always found it difficult looking inwardly and discovering our own talented musicians and artists. It’s a paralysis thing that we really need to shake off. The big events in the city centre rely on the big names and it’s a problem that will probably continue to grow.
We have seen Afternaut once at a Deep Hedonia show. Someone, at that gig, told us that he makes music for video games and we found that quite fascinating. You can equate both conceptual music and computer games to a journey and that’s what we experienced with his latest release Transmission.
It is inspired by Nikola Tesla’s obsession with communications from other worlds. The Serbian-American was best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current electricity supply system. Importantly, he was a futurist who was engrossed by ideas.
We felt like that “the idea” was the thesis of the opening track Teslascope. An introduction that is viscerally caressing with the percussion having a watery stream feel, bouncing into pebbles and rocks.
The colour of the art cover really helps. There’s this autumnal, red mist thing going on. Or it could be the Nevada desert or a photoshopped field in Knowsley Village, we don’t know. It is calming so we know that it’s going to be an ambient experience.
It gets interesting on the second track, Red. An idea has been born on Teslascope. Tesla’s idea and Afternaut’s percussion on Red, we’d imagine, combusts to create a sense of working on this certain idea. Experimenting. The percussion creates this sense of Tesla’s flares and sparks going off in his working studio. The pulsing synth that changes in tones throughout the track gives you this feeling of focus and progression. It is all kind of vague but this Tesla conception makes it easy to imagine.
The progression leading into the following tracks isn’t subtle at all. We mean this positively. Signal, again, gives you this solitary feeling of working on an idea. This is relative to being an artist working on something. To us, we relate it to making music. Tweaking bits, getting frustrated, making mistakes and coming out with the finished idea.
There’s a confident approach on Distant Observer. We’re starting to sound really corny with this vague analogy of this journey music. Distant Observer could be viewed as me the music listener listening to his complete sound, or Tesla’s work, because we think it’s the best song on the release. There is all kinds of things going on in the background. Bleeps and clicks and this rising computer male vocal. Again, the percussion is staggering.
Finally, there’s Detected. A positive final song. There is this sea spray effect that comes in and out which makes the following sounds, synths, more mesmerising and up lifting.
It is Afternaut‘s most atmospheric release to date. Perfect for electrical storms that may brew this month. We are looking forward to see a live performance in the near future.
Afternaut was recently commissioned by Getintothis to make a three-minute soundtrack for the Giant Spectacle which took over the streets of Liverpool in July – to listen to his track and watch the accompanying video see here.