Review Summary: Futuristic techno from the 80s.
The hardest part about being a musician, arguably, is getting noticed. It's typically not something one can induce upon themselves. It comes out of nowhere. Some musicians get lucky and are propelled to stardom, where their music rightfully belongs. For others, it never comes. They can spend maybe 10 years being an independent bedroom producer, making sensational music as a hobby without anyone being the wiser. messFX has been doing exactly that, and it's a real shame.
is, quite surprisingly, messFX's eleventh album. Their debut was released all the way back in 2008. For a while, I felt compelled to say Eleven
is comprised of standard house/techno beats, but that just isn't the case here. The songs messFX creates manage to walk this border between two territories, new and old. One arm reaches out to decades past to grasp 80's synth lines, simple four-on-the-floor drums, and vague inspirational lyrics. The other arm extends into the future, from which comes composite instrumentals and structures that shift overtime.
The track 'Malfunctioning' is a great example of the latter. The first 20 seconds are strange hissing noises, with garbled noises and voice samples played on top of it. There's this sudden influx of dubstep-influenced basslines and patterns that decides to take over. Over four minutes, the song builds itself up with increasingly interesting sounds, and deconstructs itself just as quickly. It's a haunting mesh of two completely different styles coming together. Afterwards, there's a self-described interlude track to separate two halves of the album. Dubbed 'Spiked', it's quite difficult to pinpoint where the inspiration even came from. The beat barely holds itself together, but that is not to say it's poorly built. The rhythm is simply tweaked in a way that keeps it entertaining, and just a tad danceable.
It's nearly impossible for an album to simultaneously exist and not have any shortcomings, so of course, Eleven
comes with just a few. One of my personal favorite tracks, 'Subaqueous', has what sounds like sped-up samples of a choir. These samples are placed in sections of the track that would otherwise feel empty. They do add substance, but at times it feels awkward. How they're placed allows them to standout, but they don't have the right kind of energy that lets them stand out positively. This same type of sample shows up on the track 'Distant Regret', which demonstrates a relatively small sample library. However, this definitely doesn't bring any track down significantly.
is messFX's way of showing people who care to listen that he has found something extraordinary; a way to fuse elements from songs so long ago, and styles that are on the cusp of times ahead. At times it sounds like dubstep, and at other times it sounds like downtempo rap beats, but not once does the album fall flat. 10 years in and averaging more than one album per year, messFX shows no signs of slowing down.