Silent Servant – Negative Fascination

Silent Servant  (aka musician Juan Mendez) has been releasing EP’s, sets and singles since 2006. ‘Negative Fascination’ is his début that came out on the 10th of September, then on the 17th an EP of extended mixes from the album came out. ‘Invocation of Lust’ caught my eye for its industrial look and feel. Mendez comes across as a shy genius in his work, he wants to be philosophising but the party just won’t let him be..for the better.

‘Invocation of Lust’ is a dark sound-scaping, industrialImage masterpiece in many ways. The opening track is moody and space age orientated filled with deep twisting electronics and cold synths that gradually build as the vocal features – mostly indecipherable radio transmissions – increase in scale. Tension is generated with the inert melodies that equally develop and then recede. The second title track is filled with tactile, tuned minimal beats. The vocal features remain as they were in the first track, but there is a bigger, grandiose synth feature, it brings to mind the like of Biosphere and Robert Rich but with a stronger techno ethic. Mendez’s ability to make a little go a long way is demonstrated here, the beat and feel don’t change throughout the track yet they are produced and balanced perfectly – there isn’t a huge amount of bass on this album overall.

‘Moral Divide (Endless)’, is more reflective. It ‘s echoing feature and breezy movement fit over the top of another well considered percussive track and make this a good follower to the previous tracks but as a stand-alone track I need a little more range or depth. The levels are such that the beat is a little lower in the mix which in turn makes the melodic feature more defining when it itself is quite basic.

‘The Strange Attractor’ is a move in this direction with a noisy, abrasive loop over a minimal bass kick  but this develops into a set of brittle beats and drum hits that scatter across the track. For his minimal approach, Mendez does know when to add more, on ‘The Strange Attractor’ particularly he employs very subtle shifts in the ambient sounds and beat pattern sparingly.

‘Tempation and Desire’ is an interesting track, it has the ominous synths and radio vocals but at the same level as a pattering, textured beat. Mendez brings in a few industrial cymbal hits in places and also puts some high Vangelis style melodies making the whole track a series of extremes. Of all the work on this album, it is this one that draws on sci-fi themes the most.This continues into ‘Path Eternal’ that has no direct percussive feature instead being filled with shimmering synths and radio sequences. Its an interesting track but given the minimal content it could have been a bit shorter.

‘Utopian Disaster’ is the most successful track on a strong album because it is the boldest and most experimental. The modulated beats move nicely and intersect with the chords and sounds over the top and there are continual new features that rise up from the low end; about half way through there is a separate bass melody which expands the depth and pallet of the track. It isn’t until the final few minutes of the track that it peaks though which is disappointing because of the tension that has led to it and it subsides again into another snare array and low end section – all of which is strong, but not as satisfying as the culmination of the previous six minutes.

In view of this the EP released on the 17th September was the answer to what I wanted, The extended mix of Utopian Disaster bought out the peaks and develops a lot of the sounds I wanted to hear more of in the original track. It feels fuller. The same is true of the remixes of ‘The Strange Attractor’ and ‘Invocation of Lust’. Yet, there is obviously a difference between these releases, the album is more thoughtful and reflective – more ambient as I put it, and the extended mixes bring out the techno part of this music which, to put it bluntly is sweeet.

Both are strong releases and I’m looking forward to hearing more from Silent Servant. ‘Negative Fascination’ is out on Hospital Productions.

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