Electronic music sure has come a long way since the days of Kraftwerk. Where once it was a series of robotic blips and blorps, it’s now become a multifaceted organism filled with all kinds of subsections. EDM, IDM, Lo-fi, and countless others currently permeate pop culture from our soundtracks to advertisements. It’s easy to understand why not having lyrical content allows a certain malleability that lends itself easily to a variety of images and emotions. Electronic music allows you to build worlds out of your own creativity and will live on forever through its continuous genre-bending and remixing.
That’s why I’m happy to report that the newest album by electronic act Elektragaaz, The Synaesthetic Picture Show Now Playing, Pt. 2 (try saying that five times fast) is an immeasurable success for both electronic and music, in general, this year. It’s an immaculately conceived and dense EP filled with absolute treasures even in its brief six tracks. If this is your first foray into house music, modern electronica, or just missing something since Daft Punk retired earlier this year, this is probably the album for you. Beyond the title of the EP, there’s definitely a level of theatrics at play in terms of presentation, but also its mysterious presenter. Elektragaaz is led by Poppo Redband or simply Redband, and operates as a reclusive young Frisian composer who finds a cavalcade of talent across all ages and genres and helps mash them into one another. It’s probably why, for an EP that could be summed up as an electronic-pop sound has pastiches of country sounds, jazz, rock, classical strings, and more and each time it completely catches you off guard. It’s definitely a new sound for the people like me who are craving new sounds. What’s even more stunning is that with so much experimentation on display, every track works.
I wasn’t sure why the Picture Show Now EP’s were split into two, the former having come out earlier this year, but listening to them side by side you get a clearer picture. Part one almost has a safety net underneath it, so its more upbeat pseudo chiptune sounds don’t veer off too far. Here, the group throws it all out on the table with sounds you’d expect both in the club, in film and video games, and each track while very extended never meanders and really pulls out surprise after surprise. Redband is said to have synesthesia, an affliction I have as well, and I can say the stimulation one can get from an album like this is the best kind of experience. The sounds bend and twist and you make your own stories alongside it, and it also unearths feelings or connective tissues that may have been once forgotten.
It’s an ambitious project that I think artists especially will get a lot out of, but for someone looking for an exciting and fresh take on a well-worn and increasingly saturated genre, look now further than this stunning picture show sequel.