An Electronic Hero – An Electronic Sphere
Opening with ‘Little Planet’, An Electronic Sphere presents itself as a confident set of songs that allows as much experimentation as it does pure traditional dance tropes.
At first blush, things sound glitchy and highly creative. As the rave chords begin to swell into place, they serve as a kind of comfort blanket for the ears, as the synth tones begin to build and swell, until, almost without warning, the track comes to its somewhat abrupt end. There’s no time to get concerned about that, however, as we are immediately taken on to ‘Asteroid’, with its soft yet warm soundscape that allows some melodic noodling to form its gradual introduction. As the track progresses, some harder synth stabs begin to enter the scene, accompanied by a characteristic sequence and some deliciously digital handclaps. Things build to a place where it starts to sound like 80s synth pop and mid 2000 dance music has collided in some kind of time travel anomaly, and we’ve been sucked into its irresistible wormhole. ‘Oxygen’ has an almost religiously cathedral organ style tone in its foundations, before giving way to throbbing and warbling beats and some ferocious stabs that balance an aggression with a sense of sheer joy and freedom. The track’s final notes lean towards a kind of bagpipe tone, making sure it pokes right out in the mix and demands to be given attention, while things finally die down leaving behind only the faltering sounds of distant explosions in the night sky. ‘Sun’ cranks up the euphoria with some serious energy – epic rave chords, glitchy chiptune sequences, and a full on female vocal that threatens to burn your face off if you get too close. It’s an experience much like looking directly into the sun – potentially damaging to your health just just to irresistible not to give it a try. After being blasted by so much heat, the relative coolness of ‘Moon’ comes as a kind of balm to the ears, and a perfect conclusion to An Electronic Sphere. The overall tone stays in keeping with the sounds that have gone before it, but here they are delivered with a different approach, almost delivered as a lullaby. It is as though the listener is invited to reflect on all that has been given for the duration of the record’s run time, a kind of cool down track. By the mid point as the synths flicker and shimmer, it feels as though we might have already reached the conclusion, but there’s still time to be taken on a short journey once more, as the tones and sequences rise again for one last hurrah, while the bass tones rumble threateningly in the background. And so it comes as something as a surprise, after all the electronica, that the final sound happens to be the ringing out of a gong. The reality of the sound acts as a wake up call, bringing us back to reality with a bump, and perhaps that’s the best way to do it having been lulled into such a rich digital world for so long.