I’ve got a friend big into electronic music who’s often playing stuff in his car with the aim of getting me into it. Dark and dense drum ‘n’ bass usually, with the idea of “if you like metal, you’ll definitely like this”- kinda how I always force Isis on my indie friends. It rarely works, the “well I appreciate it” line getting thrown out very often. Perhaps he should’ve put on this album – ‘Scorched’ is a particularly heavy set of electronica that the whole family can enjoy.
A simple enough description of this album would be that it sounds like a computer frowning at you. Every song – a rather displeased computer.
While playing the whole thing through, the word “frown” just kept on coming up in my head – ‘1000 Test’ boasts the grumpiest synth line I’ve ever heard. It’s not happy music, and I’m stuck somewhere between appreciating the single minded rather-angry-computer vibe and wishing for a bit more variety.
The songs tend towards a pretty similar pattern – a beat gets established, gets elaborated on, breaks down to some extent and then starts up again. You could say it’s repetitive – and you wouldn’t be that wrong – but I’d prefer the term “focused“.
The composition is very effective – there’s some huge distorted synths but they aren’t overused, effective variation of tempos throughout and excellent drum programming. ‘Ja’s combination of a ridiculously huge, lurching beat and irritated-industrial-alarm is brilliant, and the touches of what I can best describe as “guitar feedback” here and throughout the album work well, whether they’re for extra texture or to move the tune onto another part.
Overall I’d say the best tunes on here are when Dead Fader go for a fucked up club feel, the worst tunes-the opposite. ‘Town’ is a good enough example – there’s this beat I can only describe as “bitching“, and the simple, quite nihilistic melodies really compliment it, with the counter examples being the mid-album lull; Danger Zone’s atmospheric but nonetheless uninteresting ambient comedown, and ‘Tubed‘s somewhat failed attempts at big beats v Boards of Canada mash-up. The tendency towards straightforward, angry synth hooks definitely lends itself to unrestrained hugeness as opposed to restraint.
If you said this album’s a bit of a one trick pony, I’d definitely agree – but it’s a pony that’s fuckin’ good at one tricks. Dark, dense, heavy and stuffed with excellent drum programming, ‘Scorched’ is an intensely enjoyable album, whether you’re already a big fan of electronic music or if you’re looking on giving the genre a go.
Scribed by: Caspian Yurisich