Mixtures by Xenura
27 Jun 2022
I don't know anything by Xenura prior to this weeks new release, Mixtures. All I know is I discovered this EP a few days ago and now I am stuck in a digital coma that I don't want to wake from.
The opening track Oracle sounds like the disappointed sigh of the singularity after the universe implodes in on itself. There is a sadness in the digital tones and sparing bells that occasionally ring out to break you from your trance.
Eyes of Bismuth features a fuzzy and disjointed bass line vibrating over a fluid ocean of what was once bell song. The first set of vocals have the feel of being sung in to an empty void. The loneliness, ironically, seems to somehow be emphasised by the subtle off beat layering of her voice and the final words echoing out in to the barren nothingness takes with it all hope. The second voice is more imposing and is coming through a wall of digital mesh. It speaks of the fourth dimension which is all very well but it really does nothing to alleviate my fear of the impending doom.
Fortunately Lazuli picks up the pace with a far less ambient piece featuring club beats and breaks. The track builds up and eventually breaks down in to a smart, experimental drum and bass piece with arrogant little robotic glitches fighting over your attention from one ear to the other.
Reside is a short palate cleanser of electronic waves to flow over your body and wash away all the energy provided by the previous track. The handful of notes played by the piano were so carefully chosen to provide just the perfect amount of worry and melancholy.
The introduction of Within Tears comes in so smoothly from the death rattle of Reside and although it begins with quite a sharp, punchy riff, that does eventually meld in to the background ocean of synth and digital ambiguity. That synthetic wave of strings lifts you up towards the end of the track and has the listener floating through the rain in a dystopian urban jungle.
I don't know if I am making it clear enough but this record is incredibly evocative and atmospheric!
We are still out in the rain for I Know which is built upon a foundation of bells and Eastern strings. This definitely sounds more 'of this world' than some of the other numbers but the effects are cleverly selected to stay in theme with the rest of EP as much as possible. The repeated line 'I know' is delivered with a sad acceptance and the vocalist is definitely being oppressed by the guitars and effects in the foreground that occasionally part for him then push him back down with their own phrases and expressions.
We then pass the event horizon with The One. There is no attempt with this short track to sound like any familiar part of our universe. It is almost a warning of the cataclysmic end which is to come.
The final track on the record, Electric Beauty, begins with an ominous crushing that sounds like all existence is being slowly compressed. Then, surprisingly, gentle strings in the background chime in like distant angels that seamlessly evolve into a digital murmur then stop dead for a speed of light breakdown in to an energetic, tunnel vision, techno tune. There are so many distinct sections in this final saga ranging from upbeat electronic sound play, ominous angel song ringing out during a break in the music, grand build ups and faux endings. It truly is a thing of Electric Beauty.
With all that said I will now go and sit in silence to think long and hard about our existence and what it all means. Maybe I will sleep or maybe I will never sleep again. Who knows.