Albums released by electronic artists are often best approached with caution, in general it is not a collection of genres that is best suited to the particular ‘cover to cover’ listening style that albums are traditionally intended for. There are of course many, many exceptions to this, some electronic albums are absolutely stunning, flowing seamlessly whilst inviting listeners to interact with the tale.
Steven Shade a.k.a Sevendeaths is a man who has mastered the art of the electronic album, albeit not within more mainstream genres. In 2014, at the age of 31, he released his debut album Concreté Misery, bursting on to the scene and wowing audiences with his wide, cinematic soundscapes created entirely digitally. The Edinburgh based producer has just put out his second effort - Remote Sympathy - and it’s safe to say that it doesn’t disappoint.
The LP opens with ‘Sunnbear’: instantly captivating with it’s long, drawn out, ethereal sweeps that wouldn’t sound out of place in the Stranger Things soundtrack. It’s almost a moment of release when the initially discordant piano comes into the fray. As the track progresses however it morphs from an initially harrowing soundscape into something entirely more optimistic. It’s one of those tracks that almost makes you smile as you sit there in your seat.
‘Journey To E’ follows, another track with generous ladles of emotion spread over it’s rich, bass heavy core. Wide atmospherics hold the track together, with synth arpeggios flitting around a big, warm bass that draws you into it’s web.
The 6th track on the LP - ‘Seed’ - opens with an eerie, high end drone that gradually fades in from nothing. Slowly the distorted bass joins it, and they’re soon accompanied by a melodic top line too. It’s enormous by the time every element has revealed itself, it almost feels like every frequency of the sound spectrum is being covered. The bass continues in a drone like manner, while the top line dances around and subtle white noise is used to great effect.
The title track is the 7th, and is perhaps the strongest of them all. Gigantic, optimistic chords are bolstered by synths jumping around octaves, guitar-esque rhythms join in, and you can hear Sevendeaths’ Math Rock influences breaking through. Shade is wonderfully adept at throwing in chords which seem entirely out of place, although initially taking you by surprise they add to the tension he manages to muster from the relatively small collection of sounds he deploys.
The penultimate track of the 10 on the LP - ‘Torrent Of Tears’ - is the only one that employs a rhythmic background, it’s only a brushed snare pattern but it’s quite refreshing to hear something with a little drive behind it after the wash of sound that has preceded it. As the track develops that pattern becomes more of a background feature before eventually dropping out altogether, it’s place is taken by more arpeggios, scattered across octaves and accompanied by deliciously rich soundscapes.
‘Some Burnt’ closes off ‘Remote Sympathy’, it’s opening is perhaps the most atmospheric of them all, spatial and wide, it is crafted with utmost care. Shade holds the chords in a suspension for what seems like too long, but when the resolution does finally come around it’s easy to see why that decision has been made. The release of tension is almost palpable, more and more distorted, thick sounds become part of the texture and it’s incredibly easily to find yourself entirely lost in the track.
The LP as a whole is really quite good, it’s incredibly cinematic, rich in texture throughout and features more than enough clever musical interest to keep you on your toes. Sevendeaths is an incredibly accomplished sound designer, you can tell that every element has been sculpted with a very clear purpose. However the most startling part is the quite ridiculous amount of emotion that he conjures from his sonic landscapes. They hit you deep, massive whomps of feeling, so vivid that they evoke crystal clear imagery within your head. To that end - ‘Remote Sympathy’ - is perhaps best listened to with your eyes closed, headphones or speakers cranked right up as you lose yourself in it’s complex, deep and rich textures. It’s not a mere collection of tracks, rather a thoughtful, carefully constructed album that draws you in and point blank refuses to let you go.
Buy the release HERE.
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