Review

Review

Architect: 'Mine' – Album Review

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German electronic music Daniel Myer has been blazing new trails through the realm of ambient, industrial and experimental dance music for nearly two decades – not only lending his skills to world-renowned acts like Haujobb and Covenant, but also making a significant contribution to the “Intelligent Dance Music” (IDM) genre through his solo project Architect, constantly evolving in style and method across six albums. His latest and most complex offering Mine finds him painting on a much larger musical canvas, and he's enlisted an impressive roster of guest talent to flesh out this vast, dark vision: contributors include composer & sound designer Ben Lukas Boysen (a.k.a. HECQ); producer Paul “pk” Kendall, who has worked with Depeche Mode, Nitzer Ebb and Barry Adamson; Canadian dark electro unit Comaduster; and vocalist Emese Arvai-Illes of Hungarian gothic synthpop duo Black Nail Cabaret. It's an impressive lineup, and the result plays out on a suitably grand scale. 
 
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Played in sequence, these tracks take on a dreamlike quality, just touching the edges of an unsettling nightmare, but with many moments of dark beauty. The energy builds slowly and deliberately in the airy intro "Altitude," which opens on a chill vibe but gives way to an intense, heavy down-tempo beat at the midpoint, and the sonic intensity comes down a bit more for "Closer" to make way for a warm lead vocal. Myer injects fat, buzzy EDM bass into "Neverending," but it's the resonant synth lead which takes the starring role, and the dark industrial pumper "Freaks" provides an aggressive jolt... but that dreamy, minimalist tone returns for "Immaterial,” which blends the ghostly vocals of Arvai-Illes with a bright acoustic guitar for a spooky, mesmerizing piece that's one of the album's high points. Listen:
 
 
The textures get hazier and less distinct in the dark ambient track "Bencq," giving it a slightly menacing edge, briefly sliding into the snappier mid-tempo dance rhythm of "The Sun" before heading deeper into experimentation for "Set My World On Fire," which is highlighted by an ominous pitched-down spoken lead vocal, and the slow, determined crunch beats of "The Mountain Top." Dreamy atmospheres and vocals return for the pensive "Hummingbird" before easing into a mid-tempo variant on "Altitude" featuring Comaduster on vocals.
 
While the CD version of Mine is excellent, it should be noted that a new approach was taken with Artoffact Records' double-disc vinyl release, with the inclusion of three bonus tracks of significantly lower tempos: the heavy bass dirge “Glazart,” the bright and airy club cut “Region,” and the surly digital growl of “Rhythm Machine.” These three help to expand the scale of the project to even more cinematic proportions, and are shuffled into a different sequence with the others instead of being merely tacked on the end. Either way, if you're inclined toward darker, moodier grooves with the ability to soothe your senses and tickle the hairs on the back of your neck – usually at the same time – then you should definitely make Mine yours.
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