f5point6 - A World Within Our World

Released: June 12

Following up from last year's Clinical Trials, R. Cleveland Aaron (under his pseudonym f5point6) presents us with an album that is quite a thematic departure from the previous album titled A World Within Our World. Whereas his previous work entailed vast conspiracies with unclear ulterior motives, this album reverses that dynamic and goes for a hyper-focus on the minute and minuscule, both thematically and sonically. The basis of f5point6's sound remains ever-present here with all of its intricacies - the spatial and cinematic feel, the floating and free-formed arrangements, and the delicate sound shaping - but it has a certain quality to it here that feels much like taking the smallest sounds imaginable and making them larger than life, similar to the "lowercase" musical approach. 

The shift in focus from the sprawling, tangled, and uncanny world that humans have built for themselves to the natural world that we regularly overlook or even trample underfoot is a rather intriguing choice. At first glance, you may think this would be a peaceful and reflective endeavor but you wouldn't be quite correct. The tension and unease is built up from the very first track "Konis" as sounds slowly layer atop one another, seemingly methodically, only to be stripped apart in quick order to start rebuilding once again. This very cyclical approach creates something uncomfortable and is aided by the use of these seemingly minute sounds that are amplified unnaturally. Among all the synthetic sound design there is a seemingly dusty sound. Small clicks, pops, and an over amplified airiness seem to dominate the soundscape. This feels like a very deliberate decision - to make what is normally the background into the foreground - bringing clarity and focus to the parts that are typically ignored, perfectly illustrating the theme of the album. 

The second track in the album, "Clarity in the Dark" builds on this by this time stripping away much of the synths and the more tonal elements of the song, leaving only the background noise that is now amplified to an uncomfortable degree, pushing a sense of unease and impending misfortune. It is strange how much of the album pushes this sense of urgent discomfort with only brief glimpses of peace and contentment. "Fertile Ground" balances this tension well as it begins with noises that slowly morph into a delicate and precarious melody with a small percussive accompaniment. But this moment of peace only lasts momentarily as the melody slowly dissolves and we are thrust back into the uncomfortable realm of tensely over amped noises. Cleveland goes back and forth with this motif, opting to make the uneasy for much of the runtime while giving them moments of respite that only lasts long enough to put you at ease momentarily. 



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