Aaron David Ross is a hard man to pin down. Ross first popped into a lot of people’s attention as one half of Gatekeeper, the electronic psych duo that released bits on Hippos In Tanks and Fright. Ross nabbed a bit of my attention with his, still intriguing, solo debut Solitary Pursuits that dove into the hypnogogic deep end with the best of them. He’s mutated his sound several times since then, working through an acid Jazz/electronic tryst and creating an immersive electronic ecosystem via SD card on his last release for PAN. He returns to the pioneering label’s ranks for an album that focuses on the human voice as his subject. Ross straddles the pop and academic electronic worlds and its clear that this is a moment where he chooses to bridge the divide with a bit of a smile on his lips.
The backbone of the album is pure pop, feeling like it has every bit of potential to break through as a modern radio backdrop, and this speaks openly to his work as a composer for fashion and advertising. He’s completely enmeshed in the sounds of the present day distraction prone world of aural accompaniment, but being classically trained, here those sounds serve as the pixels of something much larger in scope. He takes the pop impulses and chops them into thrumming, truncated, ADD snippets of sound. It winds up feeling like a modern-day update of Prefuse 73’s Vocal Studies and Uprock Narratives if it was created after a half-remembered night spent at any topline EDM festival, 3 strip clubs and a gyro cart, based out of your skull and trying to match game those memories into an order that makes a small bit of sense.
The effect pulls pop apart into a sound that’s catchy but fractured, serving as a perfect method of digesting the detritus of the autotuned dystopia that often permeates the FM band like a slick coating of grease. Ross channels chaos into a blurring whirl though over-stimulation, leaving an album of crackling energy and the faint whiff of dry ice in the air as it clicks to a close.
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