Available as CD and vinyl LP on R&S, Love over Will is a grand and melancholy collection of electronica from Alex Smoke. Following a run of great EPs, this album blends icy new wave synths and drum machines with Smoke’s classical training and longing voice. His crisp electronic productions are always matched with a dark and inventive wit.
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First off Alex, what the hell is that? You know, that thing on the cover? Kim thinks it’s a mythical being, like a masturbatory medusa but without any snakes. Dicks sell records, right?
Anyway, straight from R&S, this one. Mr Smoke (or Mr Menzies to his family) has already been melding tight drum machines with cold, melancholic synths on the notorious techno/electronica label, the likes of which would make labelmate Lakker cry. Now he turns his attention to his own vocal tract, adding a slick post-punky tinge to the proceedings.
Wow, I had no idea that this fella had released so much over the years. Despite his first record coming out in 2001, Alex Smoke hasn’t had the coverage that you’d expect from the electronic music media massive. Perhaps the R&S signing is what he needed to showcase his skilled production style to planet Earth and convince everyone to never leave their bedrooms. His beats are mostly of the broken variety, with reverby AFX hats grooving along while some noisy synth sounds pretend to be his voice, or is it the other way around? There are so many icy morphing noises buried in the mix, often rising out of the hole left by an effects-laden vocal line; it’s a very disorientating experience, not knowing what is what. To say that this is techno would be perhaps a mislabelling, with lots of tracks being slow dubbed-out wisps such as ‘All My Atoms’ and ‘Yearning Mississippi’ but with that same cold intensity that the genre is built upon.
So yeah, the voice is actually a really nice addition, who’d have thought that humans could meld so well with machines?
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