Thought-provoking Hypnus label owner Michel is back with a third album under “Aether Mechanics”, his most cosmic and futuristic project. Following the first self-titled techno LP full of curiosities and an indispensable pack of flangers for the second one, “Vaccine” plays the minimalist card, illustrating well Da Vinci’s quote “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
For the most tenacious artists, minimalism is in fact a very difficult art form to achieve. In music, it’s about accepting to “let it go”, more or less precociously, while combining some sounds and FX. The approach is particularly unnatural for those who are constantly invaded by flows of ideas, such as Michel. In another hand, the Swedish producer is also somehow freeing himself in the process, making it worth the experimentation.
The creativity is still largely expressed, with a significant part moved to storytelling. As evoked in the – very original – press description, the storytelling is undoubtedly as interesting as the album itself. From Michel’s fertile imagination, mankind is presented as an interplanetary species in the future, after having escaped from a pandemic crisis on the imaginary planet “Tellus”. The description, fun to read at first glance, also brings serious metaphors: the danger of the viruses, the need to adapt and “Tellus”, the Roman Goddess of Earth, giving a divine dimension to our planet and home.
In “Vaccine”, Michel AKA Aether Mechanics created a dystopian cinematic experience with the sound and the words, underlined by his unconditional love for the experimental approach (and for the writing). As for the cinema, there is an entertaining side, brought by the sci-fi flavour, and a message, related here to the future of Mankind. The vision is optimistic if our species is seen as an adaptive one, or pessimistic if it is seen as a destroying one. The post-apocalyptic experience is developed musically between both poles, without any clear position, leaving a certain freedom of interpretation to the listener. This is the type of mental labyrinth Michel enjoys playing with, dropping here and there various clues of his creative process, in a more or less hidden way, a bit like a video game architect would.
Other pieces of the puzzle can be found in a Facebook post, where he also gives technical explanations: not wanting to follow the conventional ways of writing music, he gathered the snippets into a playlist, listening to them on repeat for a long period of time to establish an intimate relationship with the sound. Then, he brought the tracks to life with some spatial effects. Through the subtle atmospheric environments displayed in the tracks, the experimentalist focused on the exploration of perception rather than just making music. With an uneasy feeling soaking through the machine-like sounding tones, the album manages to translate the depressing nature of our future into a comprehensive musical effort, filled with carefully arranged sound effects and the beautiful unpredictability of the modular synthesis.
In addition, Pascal Blanche stepped up with the artwork, effectively mirroring the music under it. If the release is a message from the future, then Michel brought interesting topics to think of in the present, related to his personal anxieties, and in fact shared by most of us: the urgent and important need to improve our relationship with the precious environment and health.
WRITING BY: MAREK LIMINAL & CEDRIC FINKBEINER | 28 JUNE 2021