A Journal Of The Dark Arts
emerge from the dust and gloom into a landscape of scintillating, living light on Daniel Ruane‘s Arrythmia.
Technology is usually perceived as cold, sterile, while its acolytes are stereotyped as analytic eggheads, somewhere on the autistic spectrum, with zero interpersonal skills; white pasty skin to match their white lab coats.
Similarly, electronic music traditionally conjures images of titanic synthesizers, the size of a small warehouse, with more blinking lights than a space station.
These imaginings are leftovers from a time when gear was cumbersome and expensive, relegated to the academies and institutions and record label behemoths.
This idea has been getting more and more out of touch with reality, as technology has become lighter, more portable, and more accessible.
It is now becoming possible to INTEGRATE technology, into the natural world, and into our actual lives. Consider Big Data Being Used To Cure Cancer, or antique rustic furniture in a hyper-minimal modern loft, while Forest Swords mixes his records in a meadow, and UK Producer Untold releases super sleek modular jams on a handtooled wooden USB key.
Finally, we seem to be reaping some of the promises of the future, as technology actually AUGMENTS our humanity, making us more human than human, maximizing our potential. Data could be used to monitor deforestation, or we can look at 200 years of statistics, to predict natural cycles, cut off disease, and gain valuable insights into the forces of economics, to build a better world for everybody, not just some.
Arrythmia, the first proper long-player under his own name from Manchester producer Daniel Ruane, is a soundtrack for a landscape, a shifting and evolving ecosystem of ambiance, dissonance, powerful beats and detailed sound design.
Arrhythmia kicks off with “Boy”, a beautiful and lush distant drone, which slowly morphs into a hypnotic pulse, only to fade out in shadows and silhouettes. The dreaminess is interrupted with “Antigen”, however, Arrhythmia’s stand-out single, with muscular, bouncing cannon beats, like Scuba performing a deconstructed Burial two-step, while glistening, growling acid squelches gurgle on top. “Antigen” bears the distinction of managing to be acid, dubstep, and glitch hop, simultaneously, while not succumbing to a single cliche. It all smooths and evens out, towards the end, as the layered and skittering beats settle down into a solid 4/4 club-thumper, that will transform warehouses into rainforests.
The feeling i was left with, was of someone leaving some mechanical cave, and heading out into some alien environment. The lifeforms are not settled and static; instead, everything seems to be in a state of constant flux. I had the feeling, with “Switch”, Arrythmia’s other standout track, of watching some canine ripple and shiver, in front of your very eyes, like some grotesque intimation of lycanthropy, as beats stomp like an army of Terminators, and cyberdyne hornets whizz past yr ears.
There are numerous reminders, during Arrhythmia, that this is no pleasure garden, that this unexplored zone is not easy and safe. But it is capable of such marvels, such wonders to behold!
Like the Zone in Tarkovsky’s Stalker, once you know it’s there, you have to go, and keep going.
Like the lifeforms in this zone, Arrhythmia seems to be a time-lapsed photograph of the last 30 years of electronic music. This is post-Techno, post-dubstep, as beats shuffle, shift and morph into every conceivable configuration.
So throw this on your headphones or car stereo, and find a secluded spot you’ve never explored. Sit and watch the bees, as weightless synths provide a soundtrack for budding trees.
There is hope, yet. There is still wonder, and mystery, and magick, and it is worth the risk.