Dutch producer and human energy torpedo AL/SO began teasing his forthcoming album Heaven Comes Down last month with a surprising track called “Serendipity.” Known for his dancefloor blasters and cheeky song titles like “Toaster Bath,” “Shake It” and more recently “Chris Eubank” with Tengu, AL/SO has also been known to showcase more melodic and experimental work but he’s really going for it with “Serendipity.” Now, with the release of teaser number two, “Ethereal,” fans will know it’s not just a one-off.
Even for those who know AL/SO’s more emotive and musical works like “Superfluous,” which showed an interesting virtuosity with synths as well as really highlighted his love of classical genres like Opera. In “Serendipity,” there’s a continuation of this aptitude for synth play and sound design, but it appears AL/SO also likes to experiment. With radio pop synths (or distorted pizzicato string sounds) creating the classically-inspired melody, they devolve into what sounds like actual vapor wave static in the break, making for a sort of pre-Analog Misanthrop vibe with more danceability.
“Ethereal” drops tomorrow but YEDM has been given access to preview the streaming track a bit early. It continues the trend of experimental and danceable but with much more emphasis on the experimental side of things. Sort of celestial in the ambient layer of the sound design, the radio pops and static-cum-Beethoven melodies give the impression that Switched on Bach has been run through an AI program and then handed to an archangel for mastering; the one with the million eyes.
The composition is what makes “Ethereal” a cohesive track, and not just a Zappa-esque fusion lark. While the beat comes and goes, the track stays in D&B timing despite its many twists and turns, making it not only danceable but suited for the dancefloor DJs will have loads of fun with this one, as there are donez of ways it can be remixed . It’s also suitable for a good, hard tech listen because there are so many moving parts, not to mention methods, techniques and genres, switch-ups and surprises. Lastly, it’s melodic and flowy enough to enjoy on its own, without dancing or analyzing it to death.
Diverse without catering to any specific sect of the listening public, “Ethereal” may be a seminal track for AL/SO, and we haven’t even heard Heaven Comes Down in its totality yet. Will it be a seminal album as well? It seems likely In the meantime, more and more of both industry grumps and punters alike are learning that AL/SO is more than just a dancefloor jockey with a talent for funny track names. Heaven Comes Down will open up a whole new world of artistry from the cheeky Dutchman, and we can’t wait to hear the rest of it.
“Ethereal” drops on Korsakov Music this Thursday, March 30. Click here to pre-order or pre-save.