Published by Alessandro Violante on February 26, 2017
How many people, after having read about the new album made by Imminent and Synapscape, have impatiently waited for it, also considering that Olivier Moreau’s last Imminent album was released already eight years ago? The truth is that The humanoid problem, their new album released by Ant-Zen, isn’t an Imminent nor a Synapscape new album, but simply something sui generis, modern and updated, considering the changes industrial music began to experience few years ago. The incredible three come back giving life to their first collaborative full length, more than ten years after their last EP release. In the meanwhile, Philipp Münch kept on working on his several projects, always following new paths, while Moreau kept on working together with Cedrik Fermont on their project Axiome, with interesting results.
Said that, these three Japanese robots fans have made an album-imaginary soundtrack made of ten songs, which is different from the classic rhythmic noise formula, perfectly identifiable as IDM in its broadest definition, permeated by industrial sounds and an old school acid taste. That of The humanoid problem is electronic music combining and juxtapposing sound layers and rhythms more than choosing a minimalist approach.
Continental time lapse is a journey towards past, rediscovering a sound evoking English IDM-techno music of the ‘90s, in which metallurgic post-industrial sounds don’t play the most important role. There’s a constant dialogue between syncopated, IDM, techno rhythms and the melodic line, the leitmotif of the song, an interesting tit-for-tat between tension and distension, metallurgic sounds and melody, until acid synth lines emerge and close the song, recalling Axiome.
Xylo renewal is a modern techno industrial song, enriched by a large range of atonal industrial sounds, distortions and short arpeggios (those used in Ufuture).
Neo dream, sampling a melodic song sung in an Eastern language, has a cinematographic detailed groove, typical of some Synapscape releases. The pause and the melodic vocal elements contribute in breaking its dystopic tension. Other well-made songs are Valley of the bots, in which Synapscape’s approach can be clearly identified, and The society of lost androids, having a dub-like tempo with an emerging “melodic” element, playing a major role in the composition.
Maybe the most relevant song is Virtual retaliation, the first song extracted from the album, which video was made as always by Fsquared Media, a song having tribal-like rhythms, in some ways similar to those of Esplendor Geométrico, then leaving space to a rough techno industrial beat. It’s a perfect compresence of “classic” and “modern” rhythmic industrial approaches.
L’uomo meccanico rises again, put at the ending of the work, has an IDM syncopated and tribal flavour, recalling Futurists and Luigi Russolo’s oeuvre, fundamental and unaware forerunner of a century of electronic music history.
The humanoid problem evokes once again the discussion upon post-digital or post-Postmodern society, call it as you wish. What for some is a problem is a resource for others, and also the opinion of the incredible three seems to be in the middle. The question is often more important than the answer, and they know it well, but it’s also true that what’s important the most here is music, a music having very wide horizons, both immersed in our world and in the darker side of that where Japanese robots anime take place.
Rating: 8, 5