Certain feats are more monumental than others. A good album is a difficult feat to pull… so you might think that 23 good albums are 23 times as difficult. But as a matter of fact, it’s an exponentially harder achievement.
Featuring not one acoustic instrument, Havoc Osiris of Plano, Texas, presents another one of his 23 albums released on June 4th as a purely electronic affair. ‘Hardware’, full of delicate melodies and intricately structured sonic paintings. The formula is a very simple one, and it shows in every single song here. The main motif is created, placed at the core of the piece, and is coupled with a few interludes whose sole function seems to be to provide contrast to keep the main motif fresh and in demand.
It’s safe to say that Havoc Osiris’s brain works on a higher plane than us mere mortals. The places he takes his rhythmic ideas, and the hectic identity he crafts on nearly every piece are nothing short of astonishing. The quality with which the layers are spread like fabric and the way sounds are woven into a tapestry of contrasting colors on all songs are undeniably unique. But the results are a mixed bag, I’m sorry to report.
Hardware features 13 songs. running nearly an hour in length, it’s a demanding listen, that takes effort. But how much effort? A Lot, unfortunately.
The first half of the album features its best, most memorable, and best-structured sounds. The starter ‘Abyss’ is a mysterious Sci-Fi affair, exotic, light, and alluring. The title track is hectic and anxious, featuring a core that’s steady and grows to be quite hypnotic. ‘Routine’ features a conventional rhythm on a deep, dark, prowling, and driving base, with some of the quirkiest interludes on the whole album. ‘Dog Eat Dog’, my personal favorite, is a steady, driving beast. Full of powerful lines and steady distorted drums. It’s a uniquely traditional listen that’s the first on the album to feature a proper ending.
The second half of the album however is where things start to get, sadly, lost. While almost every song seems to have a unique idea at its core, most of them fail to utilize this idea and develop it into something truly ear-grabbing or exciting. Take for example ‘Odyssey’, starting with tribal beats that are fresh and exciting, only to take them nowhere, burying them, by the middle of the song, in a sea of the usual hectic sampled drums with busy 16th notes on the cymbals, totally negating their presence. Or ‘Ulterior Designs’, featuring a very off-putting and genuinely intriguing rhythmic twist, with nothing to back it, and exceedingly “quirky” interludes. The penultimate “Checkpoints” is a flat, unmusical, piece with a minimal sonic range that goes nowhere. It’s also notable that almost all of the songs here feature no ending, they just literally dissipate in an instant into the next song, which proves bumpy along the ride.
The low points on this album are present, and while almost none of them is disruptive or painful, they still ooze wasted potential. Seeing very clearly what Havoc Osiris is capable of doing, you start every song hoping that it will be another icon of his fulfilled potential, only to be disappointed when it’s simply not. After all, pulling off 23 good albums is an almost non-human feat. And no one can blame Dale de Soussa for being a human like us all.
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