‘Visionary’ is a title no one should take lightly, throwing it left and right. A lot of traits must appear in anyone we label as a visionary. Defying standards, foresight, and the ability to predict trends before they happen are a few of those traits. Chris Lanuzzi labels himself as one. And on his latest offering ‘Maze’ we dissect the music and judge for ourselves if he deserves such a title.
From NYC, this LP comes to us, consisting of eleven tracks of healthy lengths, running past the one-hour long mark. Musically fractured and rich with processed beats and distorted effects, Lanuzzi says that fans of the likes of Aphex Twin and Amon Tobin will feel right at home here. The comparison is an obvious one. that brand of IDM, defined by heavily processed beats and a rarity (or even a complete lack) of real instrumentation is one that’s pioneered by Aphex Twin and Amon Tobin and is heavily carried across to this album.
The result is a mixed bag, though, sadly. The album starts with a song and an hour later it sort of ends. Something must be said of Lanuzzi’s ability to create and maintain a certain atmosphere for a whole hour, feeling cohesive and consistent throughout. Far less will be said of his ability to create engaging songs, though… at least for me.
While Amon Tobin’s music is defined by a heavy orchestration of sampled guitars, pianos, and drums, adding layer upon layer of richness and complexity, Or Aphex Twin’s ability to warp unnatural sounds and alien soundscapes into feasible and accessible musical scenes, Chris Lanuzzi’s scenes, by contrast, look colorless and a little dull, mostly on purpose. There’s surely no denying the skill he possessed to produce songs of this quality, as my issue isn’t about quality whatsoever, it’s more an issue of the final product itself.
For some, Chris Lanuzzi will not only be a visionary, but also an innovative mastermind. As for me, I’ll remain with my decades-old IDM classics, and enjoy them while I sit and wait for someone to truly redefine the genre for me.