It’s pretty unusual to find an electronica record that doesn’t incorporate glitch nowadays, but “AeXE” is one such album and it stands out because of it. Clean synths and drum patterns and a clean vocal over the top make for a spacious sounding record that is bright, breezy and modern sounding. Think Underworld meets Kangding Ray and you’ll have a decent handle on where Silver Pyre is coming from and it’s mostly a pleasing combination. His vocal stylings are often a benefit on the album and it’s his (essentially spoken word) vocal that brings me to bear the Underworld comparison, rather than the music. If you’ve heard Underworld’s “Oblivion With Bells” you know that it’s no longer a compliment to be compared to this once great act. The production is similar to Kangding Ray but it would be tricky to match the arcane arts of the Raster-Noton man, it’s more the structure and subdued melodies that draw comparison.
The problem I have with the album is the more eccentric vocal tics. It’s commendable to raise your head above the parapet and take some risks but occasionally Silver Pyre gets it horribly wrong for my ears. “Born Metallic” has a lilting inflection on the chorus that makes me want to slice my ears off and cauterize the bloody, ragged holes in order to drive out the horrid memory of it. On top of that “Calendar” is the most ill advised vocal since “107 Steps” on Bjork’s “Selmasongs” which I never listened to more than once and then deleted from my library, on account of it being fucking irritating. I won’t get into why I hate the vocal on “Calendar” so much because I think this is a commendable album and I want to give a positive impression of it.
The press release comparisons to Boards of Canada and Autechre are nonsense but this is a really good album that has impressed itself on me despite a few clumsy moments and it would be a worthwhile addition to your music collection if you have even a passing interest in electronic music.