AMNESIA SCANNER—Another Life

Album: Another Life

Artist: Amnesia Scanner

Label: Pan

Release Date: September 07, 2018

https://p-a-n.org

BY JENNIFER KELLY

Amnesia Scanner constructs dystopic dance electronica out of altered, tortured voices and grindingly heavy industrial sounds. The duo, originally from Finland but more recently living in Berlin, builds heightened alternate realities from synthesized elements, the beats frayed with volume and dissonance, the voices denatured and abstracted. Imagine an AI in existential crisis. Imagine a robot reprogramming itself furiously so that it can scream. Imagine a whole floor of automated factory machines stirring to life and starting, clumsily, to dance.

Up to now Amnesia Scanner — that’s Ville Haimala and Martti Kalliala — has avoided vocals, composing a mixtape, a performance piece and two EPs entirely out of inorganic elements. For this debut full-length, the two add both real and manufactured voices. Pan Daijing, a noise-electronics artist also now living in Berlin, chants and shouts through two tracks, lending a female-empowered hip hop flavor to “AS Chaos” and a pouting hedonism to “AS Unlinear” (all tracks on Another Life begin with the initials AS). As for the manufactured singing, that’s Oracle, whom the artists conceptualize as the sentience that arises out of their dual project. You can hear Oracle in “AS Spectacult Featuring Oracle,” a relatively serene interlude of buzzing discord and high, unearthly keening.

In the best cuts, the dance elements win out over doom-y post-apocalyptics. “AS A.W.O.L.” layers metallic-ringing keyboard notes (like a music box made of tin) over a sinuous, vaguely ominous beat. “AS Another Life,” zooms in and out of focus on vibrating bowed tones (or their computerized equivalent), then kicks up its monolithic heels in a syncopated jig. It and “AS Chaos” rumble closest to hip hop, though in a hyper machine-like Terminator-style way. Other tracks deliver a purer evocation of post-industrial ruin, the noise of girders clashing and falling, of steam vents pushing out hot air, of the hiss and sputter of overloaded electrical wires, and, perhaps, as a clue to how it all went wrong, the not quite human sound of AI despair filtered through autotune.

DOWNLOAD: “AS A.W.O.L.” “AS Another Life” “AS Chaos Featuring Pan Daijing”

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