Release Date: Jul 15, 2014
Record label: Mute
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
I’m not sure if you guys have picked up on this, but there’s something interesting going on over at Mute Records, a British label founded in 1978 by Daniel Miller which has brought us Depeche Mode, Erasure, Moby and many other ‘household’ names. Sometime in 2011, the parent label, Mute Artists Ltd, began licensing music by some of the top electronic and experimental artists on the scene. Among the many, Mute Artists Ltd released records by Apparat, Ben Frost, Mark Fell, Plastikman and Diamond Version (that’s Carsten Nicolai and Olaf Bender of the Raster-Noton label).
Even if they're not billed as a supergroup, the Acid's three members boast a formidable amount of talent (and other projects): Adam Freeland scored a hit single with 2003's breakbeat-driven "We Want Your Soul" and remixed songs by Orbital and Silversun Pickups, among others; along with his own intimate singer/songwriter fare, Ry X is also one half of Howling; and Steve Nalepa is also a composer, and professor of music technology. This wealth of skills and experience could have led to similarly overstuffed music, but the trio's full-length debut, Liminal, is remarkably restrained in its ever-shifting balance of indie, dance, and R&B. Indeed, the songs that first appeared on the Acid's self-titled EP sound downright lush compared to how spare and sculpted the rest the album is.
What would happen if Jamie xx and James Blake were locked in the Big Brother house with nothing to subsist on but a wheelbarrow of marijuana and several crates of Pro-Plus? First of all you’d probably get some of the strangest reality television conceivable - but throw some recording equipment into the mix and they might well end up with an album that sounds a little like ‘Liminal’, a record that operates in that same alloy of anaesthetised lethargy and paranoid agitation. Introverted, electro-tinged outfits have been decidedly in vogue over the last few years, with names like Deptford Goth and Jamie Woon all perpetrating the same brand of introspective melancholia - and admittedly The Acid don’t stray far from that formula. But where The Acid surpass their peers is with the sheer emotional depth layered into each track.
The Acid fuse indie with post-Burial bass music so seamlessly that you forget The xx ever existed. True to the album’s title, the trio of global innovators – Aussie cult folkster Ry X, Grammy-nominated British producer Adam Freeland and LA’s Drake and The Weeknd collaborator Steve Nalepa – concoct a hybrid of genteel guitar music and urban electronica on tracks such as ‘Veda’, an evolution from indie torch song to deep house heartbreaker, and the melodramatic chillrave of ‘Fame’. The descent into indie R&B anaemia on ‘Animal’ is less exciting, but otherwise, drenched in field recordings of whisked eggs and jangling bracelets, this album is an imaginative and accessible bout of boundary-crushing.John Calvert .
Historically, DJs have approached crossing over into the rock world like a military operation, loading up on firepower—i.e., random, WTF celebrity guests—for maximal in-the-red impact. It’s a strategy with which Adam Freeland is well familiar. While the veteran British beatmaker’s fondness for boisterous breaks always aligned him spiritually with arena-rattling rock—as manifest in his white-label remixes of the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” and Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”—over the past decade, that influence has become evermore explicit.