Sensient’s third album sees him reach a musical maturity that I’d not anticipated. His scratchy, low-set sound has got bigger for this album – by a factor of ten.
Opening track Dusty Circuit serves as a transition point between Pressure Optimal and this; once the opening strains of A New World come out of your speakers, you know that change is afoot. The sound is nothing short of mesmerising: that pulsing-minima is still there, but the sounds across the top are a newly-intricate patchwork of shifting, sliding themes and voices. And this is what it’s essentially all about: atmosphere.
Simple Sex is desolate, Nectar has a pounding warmth. Motion Perception has a freakish quality, sounding like you’re trying to constantly catch up with what’s going on, and as such is strangely psychedelic in a first-person subjective way, rather than a third-person objective way that one usually expects.
Wookie Beats and Madmans Playground see a hint of a new direction; while Sensient’s music has always been funky, here the groove comes to the fore and almost happens independently of the – again, crazy – sounds that warpshift around you.
Finally Sona Arome is one of my favourite bits of music around at the moment; decidedly chilled and with a smooth, ebbing groove, it’s as close as we may ever hear to downtempo from this artist.
What Sensient’s done here is masterful, but you get to appreciate its significance when you place it in the context of his previous work.
He’s reinvented minimal; after a year when everyone banged on about Trentemoeller, it’s f*ing brilliant to hear an album that takes the bare bones of minimal, removes the sparseness, and somehow whips it up into a significantly psychedelic end product that’s as unmissable as you’re ever likely to get. Important.