Excuse that terrible pun. Alex Smoke will release his third album, Lux, via his own Hum+Haw imprint on March 1.
It’s the follow-up to 2007’s Paradolia, and is a conscious attempt on the part of the talented Scottish producer, real name Alex Menzies, to explore more abstract and experimental territory.
The album’s bedrock is undoubtedly techno, but Menzies avoids formulaic beat patterns and structures. Restrained opener ‘Ikos’ and the elegiac ‘Northwoods’ mix languid drones, strings, Reichian chimes and skittering percussion with all the flair of mid-90s Aphex, while near-title track ‘Lux+’ combines sparse dancefloor chords with an electronically-treated, Thom Yorke-alike vocal. ‘Paracelsus’ is synth-heavy electro science fiction, and concluding tracks ‘Physic’ and ‘Harmonious’ explore strange rhythmic and tonal configurations.
Previous albums, singles, remixes and live sets have proved Menzies to be a master of dancefloor efficacy when he wants to be – who remembers this beauty? – but Lux undoubtedly finds him aiming for heads rather than feet.
This may have to do with an upheaval of his production approach. Apparently Menzies has devised his own techniques and programs for sound creation, and has also drawn considerable influence from his continuing work in the classical realm (he recently composed the orchestral piece ‘Akesis’ for the respected Scottish Ensemble).
3. Master of Tomorrow
10. Nothing Changes