Adriatique - Nude
So I am on a bit of an adventure when it comes to this blog for the next few months. I am going to try and review all the artists playing Coachella this year before the festival. I'll likely have to dig into some older records than I am typically used to in terms of 2018, but it will give me a more well rounded view of what is available at the fest, and hopefully you'll benefit as well. It was with this in mind that I landed on Adriatique and their debut record Nude. The Swiss electronic producers play with sparse beats entrenched in techno but more closely aligned with ambient electronica. Their songs create this tension and then allow it to slowly burn as the track unfolds. The first full length track on the album "Awakening Machines" allows the synths to spread out and grow as the song progresses. The songs on Nude never end up where they started, but they always maintain a bit those initial moments. "Random Notes Orchestra" begins bright and somewhat whimsical but then shifts into a techno phase just over halfway through. They find really wonderful moments on this album like on the title track where a heavily distorted vocal pierces through blazing synths so distorted that it is almost unrecognizable. You find yourself bopping your head along to the techno aspect of these tracks, but also locking in to the wider story being told. This album is constantly pushing you in a direction, not one that is immediately recognizable, but always moving forward. The Swiss duo clearly want to take you down a path that they dictate.
The darker moments are also extremely compelling. "Panchromatic" has this super recognizable European techno vibe to it, banging drums in a dark basement kind of stuff. My absolute favorite moment comes on "Tachykardia" around two and a half minutes in with this super bright synth line takes the hauntingly distant vocal of Dehlia De France and sets it on fire. The album feels far more interested in experimenting with pace and direction than it does about making "dance" beats. They have so much patience on this record and then rather than taking any oppurutunity to do a killer drop Adriatique shift things and instead switch into entirely different sounds. They give you the unexpected at every turn and it keeps this album incredibly interesting even with a run time of over an hour. "Studies In Dance Theory" is this awesome techno bop whose darkness is so infectious to listen to. Things stumble a bit on "Mystery" featuring Jono McCleery" the one track that has real lyrics and a more basic song structure. Andriatique are far better when they ditch anything normal and go out on their own. Nude is a really special album and in a different way than we are typically used to. Don't sleep on this one.
8.6 out of 10