Review Summary: A wonderfully crafted album, made by one of industrial's legends.
I hold a special amount of adulation for cEvin Key, as the guy is responsible for some of the greatest industrial albums ever made. Admittedly, I’d never listened to any of his works outside of Skinny Puppy up until now, but it’s hard to argue with the fact he’s played a very prominent role in the genre’s forty-some-year development. And honestly, I didn’t really know what to expect from Resonance
going into it, but I can wholeheartedly say it’s an impressive project to say the least. It’s a sprawling, beautifully produced album that plays more like an abstract soundtrack than an outright conventional record. It’s an LP filled with gorgeous synthetic vistas – a brace of industrialised thickets flowing freely in a vibrantly coloured meadow. In short, it’s a juxtaposition of nature-meets-machinery in the most engaging way possible. “Thirteen” opens in an odd fashion, as it presents a comical linchpin melody that sounds like the theme tune to a satirical spy movie, eliciting a “what the hell am I actually listening to?”
moment from me, but as the track progressed the more intricate and interesting the instrumental became. It’s a testament to Key’s knowledge and skills as a composer at this point. That silly, sashaying melody quickly became blanketed in a myriad of layers: countermelodies and magnificent, washy synths enveloping the track to make it a greater sum of its parts. If nothing else, the song stands to bolster just how good the production is on this thing going forward.
However, the biggest surprise to come from Resonance
was its uplifting and placid disposition. To me, I associate Key with uncompromising clinical misery, but on here there’s a consistent optimism present – even while you’re sat listening to “Anger is an Acid” lament, there’s an ethereal, grandiose happiness to its sadness. This is, of course, knocked out of the park by IAMX’s excellent vocal take which really drives the song’s tone home. Which, while we’re on the topic, now is probably a good time to mention that Resonance
is chockful of respectable names in the industrial-EDM game. All these guests solidify the LP’s heterogeneous quality, which in turn ramps up the engagement tremendously. It’s a good job too, because this thing runs at just under an hour and thankfully, it doesn’t feel as such. Suffice to say, each guest brings their own individuality to the tracks, leaving a distinct mark on their section of the album while Key ensures everything melds together seamlessly. It’s hard to really pick fault with what the album tries to do in all honesty. I got a Solar Fields kind of vibe from how the album handles its tranquil aesthetics, but there’s enough of cEvin’s signature style imprinted on here to make it sound very much like its own thing.
I guess for the type of album it is, Resonance
will be something you’ll need to be in the mood for, due to its approach in style and length. However, the aim and execution of Resonance
is second to none. According to Key, this is a very internalised and personal project, and the music certainly emits that kind of isolated, self-reflecting vibe. If you’re still in need of more excuses to check this out, just listening to an electronic wizard like cEvin Key – as he takes you down a very vivid, excellently produced journey with a boatload of talented and charismatic guests – should be ample reason enough. One thing is for sure: we’re off to a great start for music in 2021.