Review Summary: Are the speakers broken? No they aren't, my friend. Not even close.
What makes music engaging for me has nothing to do with songs themselves or their structure. It doesn't even have to do with the style of music being played. When a record seriously engages me, it's because its takes me to a cohesive world beyond this one. Its artistic success and enjoyment is based on its ability to serve as a mode of transportation for the mind. And also, it has to be loads of fun too.
Enter Julien's 2016 album "Face of God", a release that was seemingly lost to time. I've only found one website online that still had the record available for purchase in full, as the album was scrubbed from both Julien's bandcamp page and Orange Milk Records' streaming site. Regardless, I was able to get my hands on a copy. While his EP, 'Mercury' really wowed me on first listen, I had grown off of it considerably. I had no idea what to expect going into this. And then upon pressing play, a dreamy soundscape pulsed in at the start of "REBIRTH" which signaled something special was in store. Indeed, the eerie first track leads you slowly into a glitched out world of techno-inspired synth-scapes and.... a crying baby. Yeah, it's the weirdest track on the whole album, but it establishes an atmosphere that reminds one of being in an ineffable laboratory in some other dimension. The album continues in this fashion.
On the second track "Baby Angel", we are introduced to the high-pitched, frenzied style of happy hardcore that accompanies the rest of the album. It's like Machine Girl's 'Gemini' dipped in some Sweet Trip, and then was given tons and tons of ecstasy. Candied IDM with layered synthesizer patches rip through each track at what sounds like at least 200 BPM. It's overwhelming as hell, but its extremely dance-able and footwork infused grooves keep your body and mind moving. There's a track called "DDR/PCP", and that's a very good description of the sound you have emanating from this.
The album does a great job of being original. It sounds like you're listening to an abstract piece of art coming to life, or realizing its own existence. The album brings on a spacey sci-fi atmosphere that sounds decidedly old-school, while also being extremely futuristic. Like what an electronic band would make in 2003 after seeing the future of the internet in 2016. Even though the album somewhat wears its influences on its sleeve, that same sleeve tends to fall off into the ether more often then not, leaving little resemblance to other electronic albums out there. Orange Milk Records describes the record as "futuristic punk". You can be the judge of that one.
The album comes to a close with the title track "FACE OF GOD", which is arguably the best track, and one of the few to have overt jungle/ DnB influence written all over it. Although awash in digital synths, the album ends in this delicate manner, as the breakbeats on this track come in with a very treble-heavy presence, coming in quickly and then fading out. Like waves in an ocean, its a serene way to close such an onslaught of an album. The album has become one of my favorite electronic releases after giving it many spins over the past year. Although I've had a few friends who are vehement detractors to the album's sound and its production, I simply think they failed to understand it, or grasp what David Winkler was trying to do. After all, not many are going to come in contact with the Face of God, and realize what they're looking at in the first place. Your speakers won't break, but your brain may... just a little.