Technology always finds a way to astound us as human beings. It seems that however our civilisation conducts ourselves, there is something beyond our imagination that we hadn’t considered or we didn’t believe was possible. That is whether a new mechanical marvel or edging nearer photo-realistic graphics in a video game, just to name two examples of possibilities, constant breakthroughs or refinements, or even building something entirely from the ground upwards keeps us on our toes, wondering what is next to come. I find my relationship with electronic music is very much a similar affair. Only you occasionally have to excavate producers or musicians who dare to innovate or engineer like no one before them. That certainly seemed the case with the one man electro-industrial project The .Invalid, a true beacon of hope in the bland landfill of harsh distorted vocals and overly intense synthesisers. The vision of Edinburgh resident Seamus Bradd, The .Invalid ties together dual vocals leaning on a metal sensibility of clean and screamed, but atop a mountain of utterly breathtaking ambience and jaw-dropping production values, especially for a debut LP. For something titled The Aesthetics Of Failure however, unless in reference to the vast soundscape of emotions and moods linked to such that is explored on the album, the end result is nothing short of triumphant. Ranging from four to the floor soul-charged EBM stompers to atmospheric marvels to downtempo tugs of the heart, even more synth-pop orientated numbers, there seems to be very little the undeniably talented producer can’t do. In an album full of stellar, stand-out tracks, wittling down to a personal favourite seems incredibly unfair for undoubtedly one of the best albums I’ve heard last year. The honour does go to, as also indicated by my favourite songs of last year, Blind Myself for balancing everything that this album accomplishes so well into just over four minutes of EBM magnificence. From the introduction of rhythmic static, it leads in a beat engineered to thump you hard right in the chest, while warm arpeggios bubble beneath it, but never overpoweringly so. If anything is overpowering, it’s the euphoria from the emotional intensity from both sets of vocals, especially against the melody of the bright, airier synth in the chorus, which in its own right, hands down one of the most beautiful moments on the entire album. While lyrics are hard set on settling the score on a heartbreak, they really strengthen the impact of every intricacy and nuance in the sound design, no matter which tone is in use. The entire track is just the total package of what an unforgettable floorfiller should be: a memorable hook, a beat that shakes you to the core, perfectly complimenting layers of instrumentation, an atmosphere that expands any venue tenfold and the added emotional depth of a familiar life situation. Make no bones about it, the talent that this man has is unreal, and for a first LP, the energy and due care shown in his production defies vocabulary. This album is by far the most exciting injection of lifeblood into electro-industrial, in a very, very long time and broadcasts the emergence of an extremely capable producer, destined for greatness down to his extraordinary ability.
Traces of The .Invalid and Seamus Bradd appear to have disappeared from social media (apart from his personal Twitter account which I’m not gonna link to for privacy’s sake), he currently is now providing sound design for a new Halo mod, but please please please go listen to and buy The Aesthetics Of Failure from Bandcamp, it is an investment you will not regret. Also available at most respectable music retailers too, but just go give the man money.
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