Review Summary: Electronic music clichés spread out across a collection of underwhelmingly short instrumental songs.
Bret Autrey, the sole member of industrial music project Blue Stahli is a lot like his labelmate and mentor Celldweller. Both artists compose and perform all their music by themselves and they don’t strictly limit their sound to industrial alone; delving into elements of other electronic music subgenres such as drum and bass, dubstep, accessible radio rock, and even just simple electronica. The biggest similarity between the two however, is their mutual interest in instrumental music.
While Celldweller has released two volumes in his Soundtrack for the Voices in My Head
series, which is a running side-chain of instrumental electronic music albums - separate from his main studio albums - that he states to have created with the intention of licensing its songs to score TV shows, movies, and video games, Blue Stahli’s debut album was the first volume in Autrey’s own continuing series of instrumental-based electronic albums dubbed, Antisleep
. The Antisleep
series can be considered as main albums in Blue Stahli’s catalogue, as with the release of the third Antisleep
volume, three out of the four Blue Stahli albums to come out so far have been all been volumes in the instrumental-based series.
The most disappointing aspect of Antisleep Vol. 03
is its shockingly short length. Clocking in at only 26 minutes, Vol. 03
is barely just a couple of minutes over half the length of the preceding two installments runtimes of 42 minutes. While the average length of a song on volumes 1 & 2 ranged from 2-3 minutes, the majority of tracks on the third volume barely reach 2 minutes in length, and this does end up affecting the enjoyment of the music.
The type of music that Vol. 03
is comprised of is the same frantic drum patterns, hammering guitars, glitchy effects, and tranquil moments of atmospheric noise that has already been fully realized and expanded upon in full length Blue Stahli songs before on his non-instrumental-based self-titled sophomore LP. With Antisleep Vol. 3
arriving after its ideas reached a higher potential on Blue Stahli
, the music that’s presented here feels limited, lacking, and incomplete. Sort of like samples of music that listener’s would expect to be in longer songs. Here the structure of the tracks are presented and the hook is briefly delivered for a few repetitious times, only to come to a close far too early, and right when you're just getting into the song.
These songs don’t exactly unfold in any way either, they typically reveal everything about themselves early on, and in this way feel more like unfinished demo ideas for music rather than fully thought-out compositions. None of this would be an issue if these instrumentals were composed more along the methods used in creating the build and progression found in score music, but the songs actually sound more as if they were meant to take a backseat to vocals that they don’t contain. This nature of the music causes the songs to come and go without leaving much of an imprint.
The sounds of Vol. 3
are hardly anything remarkable either. The generic fury of alternative metal riffage and hammering beats of electronic rock blitz don’t feel lasting or effective, nor do the soothing minute long tracks of resonating distorted ambience. Celldweller managed to keep the songs on his Soundtrack for the Voices in My Head
series interesting because he displayed a vast plethora of electronic music subgenres such as trip hop, electro-house, and trance. Blue Stahli has variety here, and a considerable amount of energy blasting out of such short tracks, but his mainly industrial-centered diversity ultimately pales in comparison to Celldweller’s efforts in the same area.
Short, but not exactly sweet, Antisleep Vol. 3
ends up being run-of-the-mill 21st century industrial music that feels severely suppressed from reaching greater heights, and is a disappointing follow-up to the great potential shown on its predecessor because of it.