David Szondy’s Tales of Future Past is one of a number of websites which delight in the bold predictions of past years. You know the sort of thing – that we’d all be zooming about in hovercars by 1990 and taking holidays at a moon resort. Looking back just fifteen years to the bold new lines of the booming electronica scene, it’s hard not to feel the same nostalgia. When everything was based on technological faith – space travel, nanotechnology, alien contact, computers, astrophysics and more esoteric pseudo-sciences, it was hard to envisage a world where Dark Age beliefs in Creationism and fundamentalist religion, environmental and fiscal catastrophe, and looming political and social disaster would be the norm. The space age optimism of the early nineties looks hopelessly naïve these days.
Not that that bothers Bournemouth-based Chris Hare one iota. His Shamanic Technology project is unapologetically rooted in the Warp / IDM traditions of the mid nineties, with more than a passing nod to the likes of Black Dog, Plaid, B12, Bola and their ilk. This is clean, joyful, optimistic music redolent of a golden age of electronica. With titles rooted in science and technology, disembodied voice samples, and sleek, crisp beats, Doorways has an air of nostalgic futurism.
The influences may be transparent, but music stands or falls on its own merits – not the merits of its influences. Doorways passes muster with ease, its fourteen tracks consistently strong. There are no weak links at all – each cut has enough going on to maintain interest. The tempo may be a little uniform throughout the record, but that is a minor quibble. Particularly good are “Electronic Therapy”, with its Boards of Canada-ish muted melody, the joyous “Pathseeker” and the fittingly titled closer, “Nostalgia”.
Most of the Artificial Intelligence generation moved on. Some, like Autechre, became increasingly obtuse and experimental. Some, like Spooky, tried to make mainstream pop records. Others, like Beaumont Hannant, seemed to give up the ghost altogether. It’s good that there are artists like Chris Hare who feel that this is an era worth revisiting, whilst adding their own unique stamp on the music.
Doorways is released on October 13th through Cargo distribution.
1. Rites Of Passage 0:45
2. Shamanic Technology (Floating in Ayahuasca) 4:39
3. Ode To The Machine 5:58
4. Strange Glass Feeling 4:15
5. Thought Bubble Experiment 5:26
6. Phonic Sky 1:38
7. Electronic Therapy 5:30
8. My Shadow Casting 6:04
9. Xtractions 4:27
10. mIrRoRs 5:13
11. Moments Of Reflection 1:29
12. Pathseeker 5:31
13. Toy Vision 4:38
14. Nostalgia 5:13