Release Date: Jun 10, 2016
Record label: !K7
Genre(s): Electronic, Techno, Club/Dance, Experimental Techno
Alpha is only the second proper full-length by Audion, the pseudonym Matthew Dear has reserved for his harder-edged, club-focused techno tracks since 2004. He's released an enormous amount of Audion singles since then, with some of them appearing on the 2005 full-length Suckfish and many more ending up on the 2013 digital-only compilation Audion X. Alpha doesn't recycle any previously released tracks, and it appears on !K7 rather than Ghostly International's sublabel Spectral Sound, which has issued most of Audion's releases.
Every so often Matthew Dear likes to check in on his main dance floor squeeze, Audion. But not since launching the project in 2004 has the man given it the kind of consistent, undivided attention he has lately. After playing a rare live set at Movement 2013, Audion has been in the air—dropping new singles, commissioning remixes, celebrating anniversaries, collaborating with friends and planning loads of high-profile performances.
Over his long, evolving career, Matthew Dear has distinguished himself from America’s indie-electronic world through his outsized, wry personality and absolute open-mindedness to pop, whether under his own name, or as Audion, his louche techno guise. Starting with his very first single (“Hands Up for Detroit,” co-written by the late Disco D) through his first taste of “crossover” success (his inaugural vocal turn on 2003’s “Dog Days”), he’s never been afraid to make music that’s both artful and catchy. Since relocating from Ann Arbor to the New York area in the mid-’00s, the music Dear’s made has increasingly unshackled itself from genre, embracing wider ideas of song and rhythm, ending up somewhere in the Bowie/Talking Heads/late-period Depeche Mode territory—as “electronic” as it is “industrial” and “post-punk” and “goth,” but really only adjacent to all of these.
Audion 'Alpha' (!K7)Has it really been a decade since Audion’s ‘Mouth To Mouth’? The answer, it seems, is absolutely, and while there have been a smattering of releases since then – including seven singles in 2009 and the ‘Audion X’ retrospective in 2013 – this new album is just what the doctor ordered. ‘There Was A Button’ and ‘Napkin’ both seemingly take their cue from ‘Erotic Discourse’ before heading into malevolent Planet E territory, and the creepy robo-vocoder voices permeating ‘Gut Man Cometh’ make it a spooky delight. Trippy instrumental ‘Traanc’ is probably the most quintessential Audion track, while ‘Destroyer’ and ‘Sucker’ scream Circoloco 2016 until their production lungs run out of steam.