Title: Wake Up Call
Artist: Sasha Raven
Release Date: 2015 Jan 26
Genre: Ambient / experimental
License: CC BY-NC-SA
Sasha Raven: Wake Up Call makes a valiant attempt at keeping the listener engaged and almost locked in the sound, but falls short in a few too many areas to be taken very seriously. Unfortunately, there isn’t much to take lightly here, either.
Sasha Raven: Wake Up Call
The first thing I heard when I hit “play” on “Armageddon 2” was a great bassline hidden behind a computerized voice spouting what sounded like gibberish, but after a few seconds it became clear: A passage from the Bible, read by none other than Microsoft Mike with the resonance knob all the way up. This is actually one of the stronger tracks, because somehow Sasha Raven makes the combination work in great ways, but I could do without the vocal stylings of the emergency broadcast system’s text-to-speech algorithm.
“Armageddon 2” fades away into a slow, swaying piano arpeggio, punctuated by accompaniment from an extremely distorted bass guitar. “My Lovely Dark Angel” sounds neither dark nor angelic, but it could pass for “lovely”, depending on your definition of the word. “Guardian Angel” is even less eventful, just a lower-pitched melody with the final note swarmed upon by reverb and delay effects. It could do well as a transition, but as a stand-alone song it needs a little more to carry itself, in my opinion.
“JigSaw” is just plain cool. A really piercing, distorted (read: clipping) guitar with a sinister-sounding speech sample. No nonsense, a minute and a half of good clean noisy shoegaze, minus the reverb. The next three tracks really don’t bear much merit: I could swear that “Eternal Dreams” shares the same melody as “My Lovely Dark Angel” except with a few accents here and there; “Meditation By The Sea” is a great sound on paper but sonically it’s a bit of a mess, with clipping that sounds very unintentional yet is somehow a constant throughout the track, and “Nowhere To Go” is little more than abstract-sounding (albeit very crunchy) series of bass hooks.
This is one of those releases with tons of unfulfilled potential. I found myself trying to make guesses as to possible tweaks in the sound, modifications, new patterns, and different arrangements. Unfortunately, none of them were correct, and the lack of variation really brings the record down. A hardline exercise in “experimental” music, yes, but it seems that aesthetics may have taken too much of a back seat as a consequence.