Rival Consoles - Persona
What's better than diving into some experimental techno at 8 o clock in the morning? The thing about Techno is it has such a transportative quality to it. One moment you're at work, starring at your computer screen and the next your 5 hours deep into a basement set where blaring subs and faint lasers are filling your perspective. This album and Techno as a genre is heavily concerned with atmosphere, it's all about creating a vibe that everyone can access from even the first listen. The issue with experimental music is that it sometimes can get ahead of itself, pushing boundaries but forgetting that people still need to listen to and enjoy this stuff. That never happens on Persona. The album is always putting a dance beat on the floor first then shifting and moving from there. The album can go from the gentle chimes of "Be Kind" to the bold electronics of the title track almost effortlessly. Half the time you are not even aware of one song begins and another ends because it all flows so simply. There are a lot of high minded ideas like connection to the self and connection to the group that relate to the Ingmar Bergman film that this album is based on by the same name. Getting those ideas across without lyrics is always tough, but you can pick them up here without even knowing the context. This feels like a record surrounded by self evaluation, while the dance aspect pulls you in to the group think. The progression here is so seamless, perfectly creating space for each new movement of music. It still manages to create a great deal of suspense but you can trust that Persona will always pay it off and not leave you hanging. "I Think So" builds and builds this tension until a heavy bass note pulls everything together in this really fantastic way.
The first time we get any semblance of a vocal is on "Sun's Abandon" and the inclusion of hand claps and some real pop dance sounds lulls you into the belief that this might be just another dance track, but that just wouldn't be Persona's style. These are only used as starting points to give you a reference, "Dreamer's Wake" makes you think this might be taking on a Bonobo sound, but instead the zylophone tone only boosts the more heavy electronic sounds of the track. It gives it this inspiration lift without losing the soul of the record nor giving up what makes it great. The patience of Persona is also something to marvel at. Rival Consoles never pushes to hard even while really exploring the outer edges of what this kind of music can do. The album is long at just under an hour, but you never feel it's dragging or lingering on one theme for too long. The record continues to push forward and pulls your right along with it in it's wake. Persona is such an enjoyable experience even if you aren't that into techno, because it feels so connected to the people it is trying to reach. This album, doesn't feel like it was made to show off some's art, it feels like it was made to include you in it. That is a place where all great dance music should come from, that communal experience, yet very few artists really get that. Rival Consoles does.
9.0 out of 10