Integral
Sercosa


4.5
superb

Review

by Zettel USER (37 Reviews)
August 9th, 2014 | 23 replies


Release Date: 08/05/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Psychotropic drug for the ears, to be taken in small doses.

Had Integral not released The Past Is My Shadow [2011], the progression between Rise [2008] and the just-released follow-up Sercosa might not seem very logical. The aforementioned 2 CD compilation showed the long journey that lead the German duo to the completion of their debut album Rise, and suggested they had explored more than enough with their brand of lush, downtempo IDM. It was, indeed, difficult to imagine Integral following the same path.

Discreetly released a few days ago, Sercosa presents us a drastic change in direction. Darker, minimal and more abstract, the new record is a challenging listening. Beats are conservatively used, melodies are subtle when found, and the whole sounds and feels like a dark, nauseating vacuum. It is hard to describe what is designed to be its own paradigm and to be discovered on your own, because despite its ties with other electronic music styles, Sercosa stands successfully as something unique. Certainly, moving from beat-oriented music to a sparser, minimal dark ambient sound is not a novelty in itself (Pleq is perhaps the most dramatic recent example), yet the contrast is always disorienting, and, at times, even disappointing.

However, it would be a mistake to think Sercosa is all about shocking the listener by means of contrast, for even seasoned dark ambient devotees might find the record more than strange and unsettling enough. Let us not forget Integral has always been about depth in sound, sophistication and texture; their architectural approach to music resulted in soundscapes that would be better described as beautiful and elegant, seductive and haunting, touching and powerful. The new album does not betray that spirit, but demands a new, different effort from the listener. This is what makes the album exciting. It refuses immediate apprehension, but it lets you know there is something more, that it is not cheating. It is simply a new enigma to be solved.

If only for the fact that Sercosa does not fail in its ability to marvel and challenge, it is more than a worthy follow-up to Rise. As it is, Integral music remains an exotic dish for the most demanding tastes, almost achieving the perfect balance between stimulating the brain and pleasing the senses. I cannot think of other artist capable of turning the cerebral and most painstakingly-made sound machinery into something so delicately...human.



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user ratings (16)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Shuyin
August 9th 2014


11827 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

great review

we like integral cookies here in portugal

Digging: Yoko Kanno - Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex OST Vol 1

Zettel
August 9th 2014


599 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Integral cookies are the best. Cheers!

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
August 9th 2014


6196 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

album stream: http://tympanikaudio.bandcamp.com/album/sercosa


Good review, pos.

Also, good to see you back on reviewing.



Digging: Alkoholizer - Free Beer... Surf's Up!!!

Zettel
August 9th 2014


599 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@Voivod:

Much appreciated. I am not sure if I am "back", but I needed to (kinda) review this album. Thanks for adding the stream. Any thoughts on the record?

Edit: I had not read the album's description on their bandcamp. They do a better job than me describing what this album sounds like, ha!

Shuyin
August 9th 2014


11827 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

checked some of the tracks, dope!

got to give it a legit listen soon but i really dug what ive heard so far

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
August 9th 2014


6196 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Haven't listened to the album yet, but I will give it a spin soon enough.



Edit:

I'm three tracks in and I really dig it. I really appreciate how "haunted" it sounds and the austerity of the arrangements.

On another note, the album reminded me of Ulver's Lyckantropen Themes, another awesome album of minimal electronic music.

bahlof
August 9th 2014


45 Comments


Nice review made me want to check it out.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
August 9th 2014


31349 Comments


Prefer The Past Is My Shadow but this is a great album

Keyblade
August 10th 2014


14992 Comments


Awesome, I just wishlisted this the other day. Rise is a favorite, so I'm glad to see this is good as well

Digging: Submotion Orchestra - Alium

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
August 10th 2014


4442 Comments


nice review, man. Skimmed through a few tracks. loving "Scarisoara"

Zettel
August 10th 2014


599 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Wow. My first feature ever. *Tear in the eye* Thanks to the powers that be.

@Shuyin:
I am really glad to hear you like the record.

@Voivod:
Then I will need to listen to that Ulver album. Thanks for the rec.

@Deviant:
The Past Is My Shadow is one of my most listened albums in the past two years. It took me a very long time to realize how truly great it is. But Sercosa is my new addiction, and do not want to quit it.


TheBarber
August 10th 2014


1972 Comments


wonderful review tho

Digging: Iceage - Plowing Into the Field of Love

sniper
August 10th 2014


19075 Comments


Bears are conservatively used
probably not what you meant, although i kind of like it.

Zettel
August 10th 2014


599 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

^^ Lol. Thanks.

percyforward
August 10th 2014


39 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

First word, second paragraph, you might want to add an e

percyforward
August 10th 2014


39 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

and have a pos

AaronIsCrunchy
August 10th 2014


527 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review, definitely gonna check this out. I'm pretty new to downtempo (my only exposure being Trentemøller, but I liked that a lot), so is this the same in the same sort of vein?

One typo suggestion - at the end of the penultimate paragraph, you probably want 'It is SIMPLY a new enigma to be solved.' Nowt to lose sleep over mind, just a little pointer.

Digging: Trophy Scars - Holy Vacants

Shuyin
August 10th 2014


11827 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

haunting voices is perfect

Zettel
August 11th 2014


599 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@Percyforward and Aaron: thanks for the pointers. Damn, I am rusty.

...(my only exposure being Trentemøller, but I liked that a lot), so is this the same in the same sort of vein?


I guess you could say that. Although this music is less downtempo than it would be abstract and minimal. If you are new to electronic music but have some experience with post-rock or any sort of esoteric music, you will be probably fine. No harm in trying ;-)


Zettel
August 11th 2014


599 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@Shuyin: By the end of "Senex" I cannot take it any more. What a surreal listen. When I give the album a full, continuous listen, I feel like I disconnect from reality.



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