Anodyne Industries – Decoder (Hopskotch Records)


The Bay Area‘s futuristic drum and bass-producing Aaron King aka Anodyne Industries releases another EP with Australian glitch/IDM label Hopskotch Records, entitled Decoder.

Decoder has refined previous EP Counterconditioning‘s fast-slow autonomic pacing with a fuller, tighter overall sound in the album objectively that really defines Anodyne Industries more as a distinctive brand of sound.

This album is more melodic and less dark in content than the last outing, and this could detract some listeners who want to hear more nasty kind of stuff, which personally I was keen to hear more of too.

‘Canyon’ sounds very large and epic melodically, but herein lies the difficulty I have with this album on a personal level of my own expectations. AI’s subtlety and minimalism seems no longer present, and it doesn’t sound as seething as such older tracks as ‘Until Daybreak’.

‘Megastructure’ is a multi-faceted monolith that presents (with the right kind of imagination) a three-dimensional and spacious construction of intricate drum patterns. Its soaring and interlaced mid-range bass frequencies compliment an ever-present humming background sub-bass tone.

‘Angel March’ presents a luscious atmospheric tone with the same attention to detail and immaculate production, but the album still isn’t capturing me until the next track.

‘Deep Dive’ is the stand-out track of the album for me, with revival of the insidious and dark machinations that first attracted me to AI, brutally and psychedelically mutating between forms. A must for “real” drum and bass fans. ‘Pit’ has the hollow mid-range bass that I really loved in Counterconditioning, along with skittering, slippery percussion vastly improved since AI’s last go.

This is a subjective review and I have to lay it down (with no disrespect intended to label or artist). I simply don’t like this album. Decoder doesn’t engage or excite me personally, because it’s so spotless and mechanical that it detracts from a certain level of humanity that I prefer in my beats.

This album is ushering a new era for drum and bass along with other artists like Dusty Fungus and Safire, but although it excites me as to possibilities of production, Decoder is not for me.

In the end, Decoder sounds what I imagine drum and bass would sound like if it were psytrance in its approach to atmospherics and utilisation of eastern “world” sounds, so outdoor festival music-lovers will love this newer branch of sound.  I will give it an average mark out of respect for its niche, its insanely intricate production, and for the last two tracks.

6.25 out of 10 Haarp Strings.

‘Decoder’ is available at the Hopskotch Records Bandcamp site in a variety of formats for $7.

Written by Kristian Hatton.


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