I am a born procrastinator who works very efficiently with an impending deadline, and maybe even subconsciously use this natural weapon as a way to complete tasks. This tool came in handy today; the past few weeks have been busy and I haven’t had a chance to really listen to a lot of the recent releases that have been coming out, until about 1:00PM on March 23rd.
I came across an artist who I have heard of only in passing, named Aliceffekt, who released an album called ‘Portalion’ on March 15th. After giving it a listen, I made sure none of my peer writers have this album on cue to review this month, and quickly claimed the review as my own.
When reviewing an album, I try my best not to read up on descriptions and have any previous presumptions about the music; I want the audio to shape visuals in my imagination based on my first impression, and then I read the artist’s interpretation. Let me just say first and foremost: If you can write something dark, melodic, and beat driven with a CLEAR story behind it all, your music has won me over. If you’re like me in those regards, you’ll really like this album and look forward to blasting it in your car at night time.
Upon first listen of the first track, ‘Landing in Laeisth’, I was reminded of the sea: black, dangerous glass waves, billowing deep grey clouds, an old ship circa 1700s. Impending dark adventures played in my head, and when sound elements are added, the visuals in my mind shape to different aesthetics; track two, ‘The Sixth Season Festival’, reminded me of concrete and tiled corridors akin to those in Mirror’s Edge. The EP reminds me of some strange sort dream: Speeding through a high tension situation, trying to complete a task and praying the instinct to hurry overpowers any sort of hesitation caused by stress. ‘Moebius Lift’s Ascension’ uses the same gorgeous melodic skill set shown previously, alongside what reminds me of an 80s drum kit with an industrial twist, knotted together with the perfect amount of noise.
So, without further ado, let me introduce the wizard behind the futuristic beats and supportive melodies to you all: Aliceffekt!
How long did it take you to finish Portalion? What hang ups did you come across, if any (whether it be inspiration, compositionally, with mixing, etc.)?
Portalion was created in around 80 hours, over the span of 2 months. You can see a breakdown of the work done on the album here. The album really materialized during our stay at this AirBnB in Vancouver that we shared with this opera student, where everyday, the house was filled with Satie.
What instruments do you play?
None. I’m not too interested in the tactile aspect of music rendition.
Tell us about the theme of the album. Do you know how many albums you’ll release before you are finished with the story?
The album is the second part of Alice’s latest travels in the Dilitrielth region of Dinaisth. It is the successor to Opal Inquisitors. This is the last of this sequence of two album. The next album takes place in Vetetrandes.
Where are you located? Have you traveled much for music and sound?
I presently live on a sailboat near Victoria, BC. I have played multiple shows in Tokyo, America, Australia, Canada and a few places in Europe. The shows are usually either for chiptune or industrial events.
What do you do outside of releasing music?
I mainly spend my time programming and writing. I maintain a few mobile games and online multiplayer games. I spend the rest of my time doing wiki edits and moderating the linguistic portals of StackOverflow and Reddit.
What pieces of technology (software/hardware) did you use to complete this release?
This album was written entirely from samples that I have recorded on the Arturia MicroBrute, which I have left home upon moving onto the sailboat. I wrote the album using Ableton Live 8 LE.
How would you describe your music?
Harsh IDM Trance
I really, really love music that is dark, beat driven, and melodic with a story behind it all, which is why I really enjoyed ‘Portalion’. What draws you to the music that you love?
These days, I listen to mostly Russian batcave/coldwave. I also listen to my share of IDM and Ambient, things like The Caretaker, Access To Arasaka, Subheim, while traveling. I tend to like music that are made from unknowable instruments, I don’t listen to music that I can reproduce.
How did you choose Aliceffekt as your artist name?
Alice Effekt was a track by Drome that I liked a lot when I started writing music. My goal was to write music like this one track. But it has since evolved into something else.
When performing live, what is your setup like?
It changes, I’ve written a couple of shows for the Leap Motion, sometimes I even bring my MicroBrute. Sometimes it’s just Midi Controllers. I’m currently writing an Imitone-based show that uses only a microphone.
Favorite synth(s) ever. Go.
For non-modular setups, Waldorf Q. No questions there.
When were you first introduced to any sort of chip music or lo-fi?
Bubblyfish, when she played at Gamma in Montreal. I knew at that moment that I wanted to write music.
What are your other aspirations, aside from music?
Code, Illustration and everything together, games development.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
On my sailboat, writing travel diaries and making games, music and drawings.
Where can we follow you on the web?
I saw a photo of you online at what looked like a Leap Motion talk. Do you use the Leap quite a bit?
I did, for a while, but I haven’t since they updated the SDK. I would love to build more tools with it in the future, as it is perfectly portable and fun.
Please head over and grab the album – it is intense, it is a treasure, and it’s a story worth hearing. Thank you, Aliceffekt, for your time, and I look forward to hearing more soon!
Till next time,