Artist: Aspiration Beat
Release Date: 2015 Apr 02
License: CC BY-NC-ND
Label: MNMN Records
I’ve mentioned before that listening to a release completely blind to what it is about can be revealing. Take Aspiration Beat: Kamikaze for an example. I listened to this release without having any background because the (very short) liner notes are in Russian. So, my impression of the release was formed without understanding what the artist set out to do. But now that I’ve run the notes through a translator, has my impression changed?
Aspiration Beat: Kamikaze
Let’s start of by saying that I got part of the concept correct: there are a lot of very mechanical sounding elements to this release. A lot of the songs have an insistent, pounding beat to them, and incorporate noise in some interesting ways.
This lead me to thinking that this release was a form of industrial techno or house. Well, not exactly house or techno, but at least some form of dance music. So far so good, I have some of the major elements correct.
What I didn’t get about this release is an element of transformation that is in play one this release. The notes revealed (translate to English):
aspiration beat – a project of the musician, who lives on the outskirts of the industrial town, do not adhere to any particular genre and tried to turn a roar of factories in current musical forms.
I would not have guessed that many of the noise elements used in this release are transformations of the sounds from the factories where Aspiration Beat lives. The inclusion of this element does make the release a bit more intriguing, even if it is not exactly a new concept
Musicians have been using the sounds of machines and factories for several decades at least. And before the use of actual samples of machines, they often imitated the sounds of machines via synthesizers (one of the examples that leaps to my mind is Depeche Mode’s Construction Time Again, although it is far from the first release to do incorporate such an idea).
What this does lend to my analysis of this work is an understanding that I didn’t previously have. This is a work that is built around the environment of the artist. In a way he is painting he is painting a picture of the un-named town in which he lives. We are hearing his interpretation of his environment. Bring their environment to life is something many artists strive to find ways to put into their work. Aspiration Beat has accomplished this in a very direct way.
I’m not all that good with house and techno music. I find a lot of it annoys me more than it grabs my attention. And, even in this case, my understanding that the beats were chosen to represent the mechanical elements of the artists setting doesn’t help to alleviate my issues. However, that being said, there is an experimental side to this release with some tracks that transform the sounds of the factories in ways that are unique, and very interesting, like Kamikaze, Bit Noisy, and Ronald Bilius Easely.
So listening to this release is a mixed-bag for me: some parts are very interesting, while some parts are on the verge of being annoying. I can set some of the annoyance aside to pay attention to the transformations that are taking place, but I do find that those tracks don’t seem to take me far enough to forget that they sound like other industrial techno pieces I have heard before.