Celsey McFadden - The Fear
Combining classical and modern electronic production techniques, The Fear is a multidimensional work from Irish artist Celsey McFadden that ties seemingly disparate elements together in seamless fashion. The variety of instrumentation and sound design includes classical instruments such as flutes, acoustic guitar, and strings but ties them in with synthetic percussion, winding synths, and even peculiar AI driven elements. Regardless of whatever opinion you may have on such tools, the AI generated voices heard throughout are masterfully entwined into the soundscapes in a way that elevates the pieces in which they are used. "The Day Through The Night" puts these uncanny voices to fantastic use as strings and synths rise and fall while the eerily robotic voices speak softly pieces of prose that give a strangely evocative and uneasy context to the music surrounding it.
McFadden uses these synthetic vocal elements well, but does not let them take over the album as some of the most wonderful cinematic instrumentals take their space in the runtime. Some of these pieces are more synthetic than others while some learn heavily into the more classical elements. "Sor To The Eleventh Dimension" builds heavily on these classical elements with elegiac strings and deep piano chords and melody that sounds vaguely reminiscent of a harpsichord. The mood is rather sprawling in that its seems both dark and foreboding while also not slipping into the bleakness of a Cormack McCarthy film, though it may not fell out of place there. Leaning deep into the synthetic elements is "Almost Human/Hedonium Shockwave" which features a strange time-warping effects on the thick synthesized percussion. The combination of this with more airy and ambient-styled pads creates a beautiful tension in the track that carries a sense of anticipation with it.
The entire album is comprised of ten tracks not including the first one, which is a full album mix with poetic interludes from poet Tom Campbell. It is a rather interesting way to hear the album as the interludes give an additional context to the album. While you can listen to the album either way, I recommend listening from tracks two to eleven then revisiting the full album mix later on. The subtle changes to the flow of the album make it well worth a re-listen.