Daniel Avery – Song for Alpha
- Arusa Qureshi
- 6 April 2018
From Erol Alkan's Phantasy Sound label, Daniel Avery's latest balances woozy synths, lingering grooves and acid-infused bass
Known for his skills behind the decks and on the dancefloor as much as for his studio work, Daniel Avery's reputation as a doyen of the techno world was cemented with his highly praised 2013 debut Drone Logic. These days, Avery's sets are defined by the kind of downtempo, clouded rhythms and hypnotic techno that extends beyond the club to more ambient spaces. It makes sense, then, that his second album Song for Alpha takes these experimentations further, occupying an area that relies on brooding ethereal arrangements as much as it does on mechanical basslines and percussion.
Opener 'First Light' features a swirl of meditative noise that paints a monolithic picture, a perfect introduction to the angular synth and propulsive beats of 'Stereo L'. Tracks like 'TBW17' and 'Embers' work as soporific segues, sitting assuredly next to the menacing and sinister pitches and frequencies of the extra-terrestrial 'Diminuendo' and driving rhythmic lines of 'Projector'.
'Slow Fade', the first track to be shared from the album, is built up using slunking synth pads and pounding 808s, which float around a moody backdrop before dissolving into the dense and murky 'Glitter'. Elsewhere, 'Clear' and 'Sensation' are cut by more jagged and spiky techno rhythms, with the latter undulating between acid rave and ambience, climaxing with the ebb and flow of a harmonious crescendo.
Song for Alpha sees Avery position himself more firmly within a realm of club music that favours soundscape over melody, and texture over singular rhythm. It highlights a change in his musical make-up, with a far greater stress on the counterbalance between woozy synths, lingering grooves and acid-infused bass. This is an album where each track is refined using a dramatic minimalism that is to be enjoyed, as Avery notes, 'eyes closed as opposed to hands in the air'.
Out Fri 6 Apr on Phantasy Sound. Daniel Avery plays Hidden Door, Edinburgh, Sat 26 May.