Release Date: Feb 4, 2013
Record label: Convex Industries
Glaswegian producer Alex Smoke makes his debut as Wraetlic with a self-titled record driven by heavily burdened vocals and melodic melancholia. Wraetlic features Smoke's processed vocals on the majority of the record, and while much of the lyrical content is rather difficult to make out, the phrases that do stand out openly echo the sentiment of societal disconnect between the individual and his/her relationships with the world, which Smoke is attempting to convey. The contrasting sounds on many of the album's tracks (notably "PintleGrist") balance longing melodies of soft pad work with aggressive electronic squelches, creating an intensely emotive experience that's directed more ethereally at the listener, as opposed to via literal meanings of Smoke's synthetic ramblings.
Wraetlic is the new alias of Alex Menzies, or Alex Smoke, the Scottish producer whose albums have long toed the line for between the dance floor and the psychiatrist's couch. Sunken and downcast, Menzies uses his voice to add a measure of introspection to his pattering, tricky machine music. Wraetlic (Anglo Saxon for "wraith-like") finds Smoke on Convex Industries, a young label that last year saw its proprietor, Jon Convex, release Idoru, an electro album that shares much with Smoke's work.
Wraetlic is the latest project from Scottish producer Alex Smoke, and only the second pseudonym he's ever used, after the one-off Quixote project from 2006. This is more significant than it might seem: Smoke has long been a bright and adventurous techno producer, but he's rarely felt the need to shelter any of his more leftfield work with an alias. This means that Wraetlic is really different, the product of a fraught battle with both an unspecified illness and his own inability to make something that wasn't, in his own words, "shitty tech house.