Yesterday's review of Adam Betts's new album discussed the nature of experimental electronica. It's a very fine genre, but it is also the victim of wanted to attempt gimmick and thus lacks meaning in its content. Worriedaboutsatan's new album Blank Tape is a more cohesive record in the genre, providing atmosphere without much use of any flashy ideas.
Experimental music is often best executed through atmosphere. That's exactly what Blank Tape does. It's fifty minute runtime is full of mystery and cavernous soundscapes, resonating in and out of existence and into unknown places. The creaking beeps of 'The Violent Sequence' lead the album into its first full track, creepily but slowly chugging through its sound. The song slowly builds up with more and more drive while still maintaining a sense of mystery. It evolves into a spiraling, almost joyous synth track, enveloping the listener in sweet arpeggios.
Other tracks seek a more abrasive vibe. 'Lament,' featuring Face+Heel, brings vocals into the game, the instrumental laidback but a bit grittier. The song stands out in a dark way in the context of the record, providing some creepy textures and haunted female vocals to resonate in your mind. 'This Restless Wing' is another track that's not as calm and accepting as others, with vocals also playing a role. Vincent Cavanagh sings smoothly above the bouncy instrumental, sounding almost like a Radiohead track. 'The Tower and The Steward' and closing track 'From A Dead Man, Pt. 2' are some other songs that also have some darker, abrasive overtones.
Every experiment can be improved upon. Music is no different. Blank Tape may enjoy more of an intimate and evocative listen than Betts' latest record, but it still has some problems within it. The most major problem is its playtime. These slowly building songs often times that a lifetime to reach their full potential, and even at their height, many tracks do not breakeven. There's not much excitement going on, nor is there something to really hold onto in several tracks to keep you interested for what often times end up being a five-minute build.
Experimental music is really hard to get a solid grip on. It's out of the ordinary - something you can't expect. To its disadvantage, though, it's that very fact that keeps it from succeeding a lot of the time. Worriedaboutsatan's Blank Tape hits a very fine line between captivating and boring, never quite settling into one place. It's a nice album to listen to for some background atmosphere, but otherwise you might feel a bit tired listening to it.
Favorite Tracks: From A Dead Man, Pt. 2; The Tower and The Steward
Least Favorite Tracks: Ravel, Forward Into The Night
Rating: 71 / 100