You know, techno/electronica gets a pretty bad rap.
When I mention that I am a fan of electronica, most people ask me what I mean and I invariably dumb it down for them and mutter “…it’s techno”. Immediately, visions of club kids prancing on E whilst twirling glowsticks and gyrating in exaggerated syncopation to pounding bass and high pitched squeals that permeate the dance floor. That is everyone’s myopic view of most electronica music… Club music, trance, dubstep, etc etc…All sides of the same coin essentially.
I’m actually not a fan of that scene at all. I find it boring and repetitive, with very little to offer by way of actual listenable music. Somewhere I uncovered a definition of electronica that said basically it was – “…electronic-based music developed not to dance to, but to listen”. I like that definition, as it coincides with my general MO when it comes to the types of electronica I actually gravitate towards.
Rob Dougan’s LP “Furious Angels” is one of those that has so much potential for me to really like, but somewhere just misses the mark. I’ve heard a couple of the tracks from this album on Pandora lately (Clubbed to Death, Furious Angels) and really enjoyed them. Nice driving beats, with good overall orchestration of all the elements that work for this type of music. On those notes, this album works well.
On the flipside, however, I was taken aback by a couple of elements of the album. First, I was unprepared for all the vocal tracks. While some worked (Left Me For Dead, Furious Angels), others seemed to devolve into a weird Tom Waits impersonation that kept getting more blatant as the album went on. It was almost as if he was trying to sound way over-dramatic at times, or his voice was just giving out. Either way, it didn’t work for me.
Secondly, there seems to be a lot of filler on the album. Long symphonic pieces that would feel more at home on a movie score than on an album with alternating beat driven and vocal driven songs. It’s like Dougan didn’t have enough to complete the album and threw in some scores to round things out. I’m not a fan of movie scores, so I found myself tuning out through most of these pieces.
In general, Furious Angels is a good album with elements that, when they are good, are really good. However, for me, there are too many disparate pieces to make a fully successful LP. I may go back to it to see if it grows on me (as most great albums do), but for the most part I found the lack of cohesion and alternating genres too offputting.