Electronic music comes in many flavors, minimalistic often being one of the last subdivisions to come to mind. Minimalistic electronica, when taken under the hands of experimental masterminds, can be a beautiful thing. Olaf Stuut presents this notion with his new release, 'Run', which bends genre with a subtle flair of funk and hip-hop over dark and brooding synths.
While on the surface the music in the album may seem simplistic, there's a lot going on at the core of it. The album doesn't feature too many vocals, primarily focussing in on the glitchy and blocky electronics, but where vocals do exist, they're spine-tingling. Brilliant harmonies are found throughout the record, right off of the get go with 'Maze' featuring Marlon Penn with puzzling synths and crescendoing harmonies akin to those of Radiohead, straight through to the end with the eleven-minute experience of closing track 'Billow', a track that experiments with the use of acoustic instrumentation not found elsewhere on the record, building up to climaxes and trenches with every turn. Deep, robotic harmonies are one highlight of 'Lush', the other being the brilliantly groovy synth solo found within it. Not all of the harmonies play a positive role on the record though: the ones found on the title track 'Run' are weird and off putting, unless strange harmonies that don't quite fit are your thing.
Instrumentally, this album has a surprising bit of variation among it. Some tracks like 'Pareidolia' feature glitchy percussion (and percussion of many calibers, to go with that) as the main element of the track, electronics serving more of a supportive role. Other songs, namely 'Thank You', focus in on the punchiness of synths with interesting basslines to compliment them. There also some weirder ones, the blocky synths of 'A Scape Reality' and the deep bassy percussion play testament to the experimentation and genius of Olaf Stuut. The experience overtakes the means in 'Extended Travels', the title perfectly capturing all this song is: an exploration. Listening to this song takes you through an adventure, one with no particular beginning or ending, nor does it have many sights to see, but you float through an empty and soft place as this song ebbs and flows like a gentle river.
Electronic music has seen a lot in its development, and within its evolution came a lot of experimentation. Some failed, but others excelled, such as Olaf Stuut. 'Run' is a solid sophomore release that isn't afraid of being different. It creates beauty out of simplicity and makes the most out of what little it does have to make up its minimalistic body. Not quite a masterpiece, but by no means a failed experiment. If anything, it has carved a new path for a masterpiece to finds its way through.
Favorite Tracks: Billow, Lush, Maze
Least Favorite Track: Run