Today I’d like to talk with you about another experimental electronic album, which I’d like to recommend for listening to everyone, who’s looking for something new, something interesting and something surreal to listen to. This album reminded me about a great variety of trip-hop albums released during the 1990s because it has the same approach towards lyrical and musical content. This means both surreal and quite chopped up lyrics combined with really unique and interesting instrumental and vocal lines. Needless to say, these specific characteristics of this album make it one of the best for me among the rest in electronic music of nowadays.
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So, Yves Tumor is an avantgardist electronic musician from Turin, as far as I know. Despite that, he sounds like a British guy because having listened to the album several times, his British accept becomes too evident, along with the vocal style similar to Damon Albarn’s. Nonetheless, it does not really matter. What matters is the fact that Tumor is not really that popular among other experimental electronic artist, even compared to such musicians as ARCA or SOPHIE. Still, his relatively low fame was not an obstacle for Pitchfork to name his album as one of the best electronic albums of the month. And believe me, this title is more than deserved. What is also worth mentioning before doing actual review, I’d like to warn you that you should not relax during the listening to this album. What do I mean by that? I mean that you won’t predict, which sound or which style you’re going to hear after a certain track. It’s experimental, let’s not forget about that.
The album is titled “Safe in the hands of love”, which is a clear reference to the track “Noid”, which depicts emotional wanderings of album’s protagonist and his increasing anxiety because he is currently safe in the hands of his beloved. At least, that’s how I understand the title of the album. The album’s cover features Tumor’s blurry image, which has already become his trademark and is frequently being seen on his other pieces of art, including his music, obviously.
So, about the album’s overall conceptual framework, it should be stated that it creates this atmosphere of the aforementioned emotional wanderings that rapidly change from anxiety to love and joy, while changing back to some melancholic nostalgia along with a wide array of vivid emotions and memories that every person can relate to. Still, I’m really happy that these themes of emotional journeys are greatly balanced and evened out because from my previous listening experiences, such albums can become too sad and depressive like ARCA’s music or too sexualized like it was in SOPHIE’s last album. I compare with these guys because recently I was doing reviews on my Russian-speaking YT channel and these are the most memorable examples in terms of experimental music for me.
In terms of musical content, I’d like to mention that there are many layers of sounds and structures present in each of the tracks. In majority of cases, from one track to another we’re hearing significantly different approaches towards constructing and performing both the vocals and instrumentals. For example, let’s take the opening track of the album. It sounds like a looped jazzy sample full of trumpets (if characterized the track in short), next we can hear track “Economy of Freedom”, which sounds like alternative RnB similar to the same of howtodresswell with the same vocals that are highly infused with effects, which creates the overall weeping sound. Next track “Honesty” features the vocals that are too similar to Damon Albarn’s singing the same lines about honesty and its importance in human relationships over and over. The vocals are combined with hyperactive rhythmic pattern similar to the last works of Massive Attack, which creates even more originality to the track’s sound. In general, every track is different in terms of production and performance. For example, a brit-pop track will be followed by a gothic-rock track that are similar to Lil Peep’s vocals, further followed by harsh and noisy tracks with aggressive spoken word.
What is more important in this regard, this track doesn’t sound like a compilation of clashing sounds and vocals. I don’t know why is it so but I think that these tracks are united by the same emotional atmosphere balanced by the differences in instrumentals. In other words, these emotional themes mentioned in the lyrics connect these tracks, despite the fact that they sound significantly different compared to each other.
The lyrical content of the album is more homogeneous (if this word is applicable to the songs’ lyrics dunno). The themes are the same: sadness, melancholy, nostalgia, anxiety etc. However, there is no over-the-top emotional overflow that can spoil the whole impression of the lyrics. Moreover, the lines are composed really accurately with minimum words and meanings, instead of depicting whole themes and subjects. The text here depicts the aforementioned emotional stuff indirectly so that every listener could create his/her own image during the listening. I really like such approach simply because of the fact that it allows for decoding the lyrics each time differently.
I also really liked the depiction of emotional and mental process inside the protagonist’s head thinking how to overcome his challenges in “Hope in Suffering”. This track aggressively and painfully depicts the process of re-thinking life, people, relationships, environment etc. in order to find happiness eventually. All in all, the album’s lyrics show the emotional complexity of album’s main hero. I also like the fact that the text does not show us the reasons for his current emotional and mental state, we just see him vulnerable yet willing to find something better in his existence.
In total, it’s a really great experimental album, tracks of which can be listened separately depending on a genre you like the most. However, in total, this album is highly creative and greatly balanced musically and lyrically, which is a rarity even among the popular artists who are considered the most creative nowadays for some reason.
As for this work, I’d rate it as 5 out of 5.
Меня зовут Эш (mynameis0ash), и я делаю обзоры на музыкальные альбомы и видеоигры. Этот блог - это платформа для обсуждения всего самого интересного в мире музыки и видеоигр. Поэтому, присоединяйтесь, подписывайтесь и будем обсуждать! Также я делаю музыку для хип-хоп группы Mba-Kayere (@mbakayere).Learn more