Over the years, I sense that “electronic” has become something of a reductive term for describing the genre. You drop the stigma and already half of people’s minds jump to some derivative of "Bangarang" or "Sandstorm"; abrasive, cold and catchy as all sin. What makes fIN , John Talabot’s style hopping LP, a standout is the subtle ways it will make you melancholy one moment and desirous to dance the sadness away the next.
While Talabot has different styles running through his music, dubstep atmosphere, chillwave steel drums, pop vocals, the one constant is his balearic rhythms. The drums push the songs forward, even if melodies and hooks are repetitive. I’m not suggesting that every song is a banger to dance your face off, but every song invites you to MOVE. As I listen in my chair, I’m constantly bobbing my head and haven’t stopped since the album started.
The album opens with “Depak Ine” what can only be described as a jungle waking up. A bass drum interrupts the birds and insects. From there, the song evolves into an Amazonian rave, the sounds of the jungle still peeking through the synths and hooks, only to be halted around halfway through the songs 7:30 run time where the intensity is slightly uplifted and a beautiful, wisp-like vocal elevates the song into the atmosphere. The song has a dichotomy of being well grounded in the rhythm, yet also containing an effervescent atmosphere to stimulate all parts of your ears.
The opener stands out mainly due to it setting the tone as to what you will hear on the rest of the album. I find the rest of the LP bleeds together in the best ways, with the subtle differences making each song special. “Destiny” features a soulful vocal from Spanish singer Pional, singing his soul out over slinky chimes. My personal favorite track “Oro y Sangre” seems like a standard mid-tempo dance song; fun synthesizers dance around a dance-able tribal drum track. However, throughout the song a piercing wail cuts through everything, giving the song stakes that really have no place being there- but oh am I so glad they are. In the same vein, “Last Land” does a superb job of blending a dance song with a feeling of loss; the bass and drums invite you to dance, but there are synthesizers layered over that are squealing with longing.
I could single out other highlights, but the album isn’t here for singles, or dicing up songs for the perfect party mix. What makes this album great in the realm of electronic music is that it is an actual LP; songs that complement each other and feed off of a similar aesthetic, while being different enough to warrant a full album listen. Put on your headphones, press play and get lost.