Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Report to the Dance Floor: Sound Strider "Intrepid Travels e.p"
This column appears once or twice a month at best , not because there is a shortage of EDM coming out , but because there's tons of it but most, doesn't demand attention. The golden rule here when it comes to rock music is cool riffs don't make a song. It takes melodies, dynamics and composition. For EDM it would be cool beats alone don't make a song and then apply the need for the same elements that make for good song writing and apply them to this or any genre. If some one can combine these elements then they have my respect.
Soul Strider's newest e.p demands respect. Though many people dismiss electronic music as just pushing buttons, or now clicking plug in's and pull downs , this choice to forgo conventional instruments creates a new set of challenges. Soundstrider faces these challenges, using the technology to craft movements rather than traditionally structures songs. In a club format there is a more urgent give and take from the audience, as the artist lives and dies by what happens on the dance floor.
In context of studio compositions the challenge is keeping the listener hooked in without the use of vocal melodies, Sound Strider compensates for this with the use of samples that flow with the vibe of the narrative the beats are unfolding. This album is much denser and darker than you might expect,but not in the post- apocalyptic desperation in industrial or gritty glitch core, this darkness comes from the ambiance. It captures the lonely feeling of the vacuum in the space.
"The Stakes" opens with this sonic exploration with propelled by soot coated beats and vaporous synth swirls to send this e.p off into the final frontier. In "Menlo Park" the synth sounds are rounder and the melodies they would create are more angular as they blip and bleep through the garden of space gas. "Childhood's End" opens with a darker synth sound suggesting you are traversing the colder regions of the galaxy's outskirts. The bell like percussion layered flanged and fuzzed beats, sounds like depressed droids aware of the fact they are drifting into a cosmic graveyard. After the sampled transmissions the beat straightens out and goes into a more conventional groove more commonly thought of in relation to break beat.
"Limit" has an almost house like funk to it , but carries more sonic density, particularly with the darker more edm synth sounds that haunt the groove. By the end of the track every thing falls away from the beat and leaves it to end the song on it's own.
The spliced beats of " Betoniere" are pretty innovative as it starts, like an engine rev and builds before breaking down into something similar to the trickle of water meshed with the growl of a dog. This sampled , effected remix of this angry dog takes over the song from the three minute mark, but the beat still holds it self together despite the heavy experimentation taking place here, that rings like kettle drums to more organic tones.
I know lots of goth night d.j.s read this blog, and you might want to step out of the comforts of the bat cave to reconsider mixing one of the albums darker moments into your set, as the glitches are dirty enough to set along side a remix from the newest Nine Inch Nails album or more recent Skinny Puppy, it's a different darkness evoking floating solitude and confinement more than being spooky. Now that Halloween is behind us and steam punk and futuristic nights might begin to creep up, selections from this would make a great addition to any soundtrack where you are embarking on a journey rather than twerking.