Saturday, May 30, 2020
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Artist: The Agromaniac (@)
Title: AM
Format: CD
Label: Ressonus (@)
The Agromaniac is a US-based experimental electronic artist who, according to the label, 'stays strictly in anonymity.' I suppose that may be why I hadn't heard of him (they do reveal the gender at least). The press sheet that came with the disc states that '80% of the sounds on this record were created using a human voice. Besides stunning industrial-techno tracks, 'AM' also offers a proper portion of atmospheric dark ambient pieces' and explains that it is 'loosely inspired by Harlan Ellison's short story 'I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream.'' Sounds promising, so let's get down to the music. The disc opens with 'And When It Sang To Us, The Earth Shook,' which is pretty stripped down machine-like beats. However, this, along with the next few songs, are a bit too repetitive for my tastes. They seem more like sketches for songs, where you lay down the drum tracks and maybe a bit of synth and then plan to flesh it out later. Only you don't. Had this been the rest of the album, it would have been pretty dull; one of those moments where the idea was cool, but the execution was lacking. It's only when we get to 'Cain' that the compositions become a bit more complex and interesting. However, then we slip right back into the stripped down techno beats in 'Threads.' At times it gets a little weird; 'Growth' sounds like someone trying to create whale songs with feedback. But there are some high points to this album. 'Waste,' 'We Were Silenced,' and 'AM' are much more ambient, with lush drone that was quite pleasant. For me, this was a mixed bag. The Agromaniac is at his best when he really builds up the songs and creates an atmosphere. Of course, some people like repetition (think Plastikman and Sonar, for example), but I like a bit more variety so your mileage may vary. I will be interested to see how this project evolves, since there does seem to be some good potential here.