Review Summary: Insik Sate's debut release delivers a mix of Boards of Canada and Aphex Twin in a short, relaxing, easy to listen to package.
Electronica has always been a hard genre for me to review. Maybe it’s the lack of real instruments to describe, forcing me to fall back on words like ‘bleep’ and ‘bloop’. Maybe it’s that I’m not as big an aficionado on the genre as I would like to pretend. Yet, neither of these reasons were enough to stop me from putting down my copy of Scott Smith’s A Simple Plan
and turning off the Broken Social Scene album I was listening to so that I could begin my review of Insik Sate’s debut Promotionless Shame.
Promotionless Shame itself is an interesting record. Insik Sate, electronically, is not all that different from many of the genre’s largest artists. There are hints of DJ Shadow here or a dash of Aphex Twin there yet, somehow, Shame doesn’t really come off as a rip-off. Each song sounds different, feels can range from that of Depart, a mix of haunting pads and almost obnoxiously loud computer generated drums to that of Antic, a mellow blend of chilled out electric piano chords and a subtle, fast-paced blend of obviously synthesized percussion. And that’s just in the album’s opening quarter.
While there is no doubting that Promotionless Shame is an electronic record, the fact that Insik Sate’s sole member created most of the album on programs like Reason is evidence enough that it is, there are definitely elements of other genres. Traces of Indie and Jazz are tastefully hidden in each of the nine tracks. New York City Land, the album’s half way point is a perfect example of this. The song is driven by a loop of jazzy, DJ Shadow-esque electric piano and peaks in its mid section with blasts of ultra-distorted drum beats. Like the rest of the album, there are no vocals.
The lack of vocals isn’t bothersome; in fact it’s hard to imagine what it would sound like with them. The music itself is more than interesting enough, with bursts of all new sounds coming from everywhere. None of the tracks are ridiculously long, with the longest track, the previously mentioned New York City Land, clocking in at just under the five minute mark. The next longest track, Konitz, doesn’t even scratch the surface of four minutes, at 3:50. Konitz itself is one of the album’s prettier tracks, combining dank bass lines and bouncy, almost string like, stabs.
Overall, Promotionless Shame is a smooth record. No track really falters, making it a great record to listen to straight through. Its smooth electric pianos and subtle beats make for a good reading atmosphere, yet the music is more than interesting enough to listen to without doing anything else. Promotionless Shame ends with one of its highlights, the subtly beautiful, horn laden, The Rain Wrote This and leaves the listener completely chilled out. No matter what mood you began Depart with; when the last chord of The Rain Wrote This leaves your speakers you will feel relaxed, or something like that. And no matter the feeling you are left with, there is no doubting that Promotionless Shame is a good album.
For anyone interested you may purchase this at emusic (http://www.emusic.com/album/11002/11002765.html), itunes or Rhapsody. Enjoy.