Albert Swarm’s latest album came out on the 4th of September on Ceremony Recordings but there has been relatively little attention paid to it which means that either everyone already knows OR they’re just missing out.
Wake is a deeply textured, at times even ethereal and ambient records that evolves into techno in places but it would be most at home under IDM imo. The first track ‘Touched by Sun’ is an atmospheric flow of feedback and eerie synths that is slowly punctuated with a low timbre kick and tactile, carefully arranged percussive work which sets the scene for the record as a whole.
The first full bodied track is ‘Something Glows’ that keeps the same rendering as ‘Touched By Sun’. There is a noisy background textures that remains throughout like a base colour in a painting almost. The the bass is a thick swoop that falls in with the lower end of the percussion. The percussive feature is made up a eclectic range of hand instruments, claps and even vocal harmonies that fall through the track. The use of resonant strings that enter towards the last third of the track is particularly strong.
‘A Dream That Glistened’ has twinkling keyboard features that work alongside the resonant, reverbing vocal features that draw on r&b influences in places. The bass has a similar role and position as the last track . There are more string sounds present here that form the backdrop of this track and it makes it a more relaxed affair as a result. The keyboard work develops though and is in places layered over and over to give a sense of scale and depth. The beat is strait forward at first but with the bass it becomes far more inflected and shifting – to its benefit, this is a good track made better with a good choice of percussive track underneath.
‘Fadima’ brings out some lighter percussive features – shakers and loose drum hits, but the attention has to be on the melodic work on this track because it’s stunning. Lovely subtle, bright chords and picked notes that texture the breezier synth work and the vocals that have been lowered in pitch and altered make this a strong blend of danceable beats and sheer chill out. The picked, guitar notes progress to an electronic tweaking that actually puts the rest of the track into relief by contrasting with the serene vocals.
‘He Took A Deep Breath’ opens with the ethereal vibe from the first track and it grows and swells and as it does so draws in the drum track. The swell of sound made up of the synths loops and waves in the background and create enough space for a more interesting percussive track. The range of drum sounds is impressive especially given how much else is going on in the track including: hats, taps on the ride and a stuttering tom hit that features most predominantly.
‘Things Fold Into Themselves’, has a noisier texture. The bass is more adventurous and warmer sounding although it doesn’t leave its position in the mix working closely with the percussion. The melody is a taught, shimmering echo on here. You have got to hand it to Albert Swarm because this is so well put together, everything (drums, melody, synths etc) picks up from each other without a hitch, one moment you take in the melody but then you’re carried away by the fresh string arrangement and the percussive track.
‘Moths and Moth Catchers’ has a hard act to follow as the last track. This has a more reflective, sombre ambient approach and the vocals from earlier reappear; then the track is paired down to a hard, minimal bass line and resonant, subdued beat that the vocals work over the top of. This opens out towards the end picking up in pace and the range of sounds used. It a good closer.
Overall, this a really strong album – Swarm’s impressive ability to combine a tonne of melodies with a intricate variety of exciting percussion is demonstrated here. I want to dance to this, I want to fall asleep to this. This is just an awesome album you listen to over and over. I hope that Albert Swarm gets some dates in for this Autumn. Highly recommended.