Electric Hell by Sam PerryRelease date: March 27, 2017
Sam Perry’s Electric Hell is an interesting instrumental album that from the off-set appealed to me as a fan of the soundtracks of late 90s, Japanese video games like Final Fantasy and Silent Hill and the influence of classic anime such as Akira, Ghost in The Shell and Perfect Blue on the sound and tone of these games. Carrying on this tradition, Electric Hell is a stylised dystopia of brutalist, steampunk sounds unravelling dark post-techno twinges onto a dark ambient electronica core like a series of crushing blows.
From the opening Final Fantasy VIII-esque intro of a warped, toxic, metropolis I knew that I was gonna enjoy this album. The first two tracks did a good job of setting an other-worldly sense of suburbia in the unfamiliar. The experience somewhat reminiscent of VR; looking through your own guise at something you’re not truly seeing. The third track leans further into this Deling City vibe of groove and melody crushed under an oppressive weight. The lofty keys and dark ambience here, transmogrifies into an aggressive, almost Kraut synth assault that pulverises the listener into the next track.
’04’ introduces itself to the listeners with a blade like interruption and the violence of the transition slowly reveals itself within the track as its rhythm stomps like boots against the ground and its keys gnash their teeth. The keys become an incensed surge of energy; a determination for resolve. And things just get heavier in the beautiful noise opus entitled ’05’. The piercing waves of distortion brutalise the listener into a spaced-out chamber of introspection and then relent to a more relaxed contemplation in the sound. It’s so weird that ’06’ comes charging in like the lovechild of Faith No More and The Comet is Coming; I actually think this track is fucking genius and so is pretty much the entire album but, it’s the sequencing that really stands out; its like traditional montage editing using juxtaposition to hilight thematics through comparison. The diversity of the track is astonishingly well-achieved. Although, in the grander scheme of the album it is clear why this has to be the case; its eclecticism is its strength and charm.
Sam Perry has successfully created an album that feels like walking into different environments at the flick of the switch and it works brilliantly. Its carefully selected juxtapositions and transformations create a disjointed view of environments out of balance. The closing tracks contrast the gentle almost Vangelis-esque ’07’ and the violent, desolate ’08’ as though we were seeing some torrid present day beside an idyllic view of the future for a moment. The Electric Hell is a wonder and a curiosity; explored and manifested in complex and considered patterns of sound born out of another dimension.
Electric Hell is a tour through a futuristic version of Dante’s Inferno in which every circle of Hell is a bleak, technological meltdown. Certainly, an interesting and satisfying bit of late night listening material.