Music Reviews

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Artist: Aeriae (@)
Title: Victris
Format: CD
Label: Clan Analogue Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
Aeriae is the project name of Wade Clarke from Sydney, Australia. Wade released his first album, 'Hold RI', independently in 2007. At first, it was just a studio project but after seeing a Moldover ("The Godfather of Controllerism") video, Wade was inspired to take Aeriae live. He followed up his first album with remixes of other Sydney artists, hooked up with Clan Analogue (Australia's oldest electronic music collective) and put out an EP with them in 2013 titled 'Nurse 2 Alyssa Type'. That brings us to the present. 'Victris' is his first release to have general physical distribution in Australia, and likely, beyond.

I need to be bluntly honest here. 'Victris' was the first thing I listened to out of the humungous package I received a month ago from Chain D.L.K. central. I absolutely hated it then. Too much of everything and all over the place was my first impression. A month later, and my opinion has radically changed. However, you really need to prepare yourself for Aeriae's brand of hyper-IDM. First track of the ten on 'Victris', "Revered Daughter"is an exercise in what can be done with a fast-sequenced many-note melody line, breakbeat percussion and a steady bass keeping time on the whole note. Other synth elements come into play in both the melody and percussion, enhancing this 168 (or so) BPM runaway train. Things never get too far afield, but it does (intentionally) devolve toward the end. "Ai No Kuni" begins sounding like another happy day in the amphetamine elves' toy factory until splashes of bright but eerie synth chords are introduced. So many changes take place in this one that it takes on quite a progressive bent. It calms down toward the end with only a single synth melody line present, but what a fascinating trip!

The hyper pace is slowed down considerably (to about 105 BPM) for 'Heiress' as Wade employs previously unused sounds from Aeriae's sound palette. Although a fairly steady beat carries on, the melody is more abstract, but not random. "Sword of State" layers airy synth chords over a sharper 16th note sequence with a scattershot rhythm track and wobble bass weaving in and out. It's less hyper than the first couple of tracks (around 130 BPM) and some low synth chords fill in gaps enriching the bass parts. As with other compositions on 'Victris', the end is nowhere near as it began. Back in hyperland for "The Book of Peace" (Mono) with a very busy but light rhythm track while a many note synth sequence melody and bass counter-melody play over it with intermittent synth chords. It's a bit classical sounding, especially in the bass line, but there's no mistaking this for classical music. It went on a little too long for my liking, but still was an interesting piece. "Kathle'en" has the ambience of a demented calliope backed by a minimal beat, a real carnival of the weird. "Movement for the Brides" is radically different than anything heretofore on 'Victris'. If the previous track exuded a carnival atmosphere, then this track is Barnum's sideshow of the bizarre, and much too difficult to describe. There is an aura of the ominous on this one. "Nurse 2 Alyssa Type" you might recall the name from Aeriae's aforementioned EP) is one cool melodic percussion-driven thing. On one level it doesn't change much (especially compared to previous tracks), and on another it changes quite a bit. The melody is by far simpler than the other tracks on Victris' too. Another mono track, "Angel Team" begins a bit slow but cranks up to get its engine firing on all cylinders soon enough. The chordal melody line is slightly staggered and staccato, but even that changes down the line as sub-melodies come into play. In the end it devolves into deep ambient space. Final track, "Regina Doesn't Have the Technical Knowledge for That" is a real mindbender. Everything plays off one particular repeating synth sequence heard from the beginning, but so many elements are added that it becomes a real fantasia, or capriccio even, while still retaining its melodic theme. Things change considerably towards the end as it winds down becoming more abstract, but there is no loss of interest.

'Victris' is indeed challenging IDM. Everything on it may not immediately resonate with you, but given a chance it certainly draws you in. Compositionally rich and complex, Aeriae has taken IDM to a new place, and maybe even another level. I'm looking forward to the next step in its evolution.



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