The Electronique Void: Black Noise
LP | 2016 | US | Original (Linear Labs)
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Release:2016 / US – Original
It was made the way they made electronic music in the good old days, all analog everything, right after synthesizers shrunk to a manageable size and you didn’t have to trek down to a university to use one anymore. Electronic music as practiced and developed by pioneers like Dick Hyman and Raymond Scott and Wendy Carlos is precise and intentional. In making his first electronic album, Younge took his cues from them, reminding a contemporary audience what a synthesizer, deep in its heart, really could be. “Black Noise” is men talking to men about women; “Lemonade” is a woman talking to women about men, and they both orbit around a failure we take for granted like the sun: loving you is complicated. It’s a skill; we forgot. Adrian Younge calls “The Electronique Void” an academic album, by which he means it is both instructional and informational. There’s a problem at the heart of it, a woman who’s been told that she’s loved, but she doesn’t recognize that, can’t feel it, may have heard it all before, may be worrying about the wrong things. Jack Waterson, long a guitarist in Younge’s band, plays the role of narrator, sounding professorial and rather superior as he lays out for the woman where she’s erred. That vocoder you hear is Adrian, talking to her on a subterranean level, the way an artist must. The discourse on the album is the kind of thing that happens when you go blonde and then you can’t keep ‘em off you. These truths are cold and hard, and our hero begrudges the well-meaning advice being rained down upon her as any independent woman would. The science of love, its formulas and if-then constraints, causal relationships and observable properties, is best taught experientially, but learning it hurts so, so bad. Music, especially electronic music, reliant as it is on abstraction and unrepentant as it is about hijacking your physiological responses to tempo and rhythm and dynamics, is a way to get there without going through it.