Despite The Dubious Title: Welcome To Melodyland
Anti-Anti — or ANTI-ANTI, as it is so apoplectically called — is a multifaceted 16-track epitome by British fellow Methyr (stylized as methyr), co-runner of the Vaporwave-oriented label Question Records. Released on Maxfield aka OSCOB's Bedlam Digital outing, this aural artifact is much friendlier and euphonious than one might imagine once the title is encountered. In lieu of being anti-establishment, Anti-Anti sits on the cusp and between the interstices of a cavalcade of genres, all of them lasciviously retrogressive, or what else to call style markers and sub-tendencies such as Chiptune, good ol' Ambient, that V-genre and IDM with grains of Acid? There is an analogue moiré spanned over every cerulean texture, resemblant of early 90's Autechre material and other previously faceless electronic pioneers. Even when Methyr revs up the occasional tune with caustic hi-hats and bone-grinding rhythm sections, the aura of solarchromatics is in the pristine air. As always, here is a closer look at three distinctive constituents that make — and willfully break — the mighty Anti-Anti.
The Ambient/Chiptune Polyvalence
Anti-Anti is placed in the Ambient section of this site, and it's no arbitrary decision either. While there is a constant gyration between 8-bit vestiges and multi-sinewed parallax layers, I tend to believe that good old Ambient drives the vast majority of the presented material, right from the flute/chime punctilio diffeomorphism of the opener WELL DRESSED and its adjacent mello-muonic magenta MIDI meadow known as INSTANT. The purposefully chiptune-oriented approach only further emphasizes the soothing macronutritious hexacore of the silkened material. Every twinkling incident and bumpy leeway leads to supra-mesozoic softness. The title track ANTI-ANTI is a soon-to-become-ogival crystal hymn complete with a cotton-wadded four-to-the-floor Detroitism, while INTERROGATE sees Methyr focus on the bonfire-lit way of life as lute lozenges mesh with vitreous music box shards. And let's not forget another Ambient prowess called BERGAMOT which permeates the moonlit epithelium in order to reach bubbly-analogue handclap/castanet blebs amidst glacial loops of mysticism. Whatever the epicenter: Ambient is already there.
Acid is not necessarily Methyr's focal point on Anti-Anti, but whether its inclusion is accidental, incidental or planned, there is the occasional bile that ennobles the fluvial material, giving it a slightly harder edge without letting the titration become sour, let alone stale. Take the corkscrew express MOIST, for instance, as it is this third track that opens the rift for Anti-Anti to reach a more pressing, immediate back alley tachycardia. Apocryphal classic drum kits, cleverly paced alternate rhythm sections and buzzing bee stinger smog cloudlets make for a passive-aggressive ride. Or what about the Coldwave-absorbing synth anthem RUNRUNRUN and its gorgeously feisty seven-note theme that adjusts its sunset-colored chroma tendencies with fir-green plumes of lithium? That's a corker alright! In addition, the thirteenth track LOW BATTERY is less fluffy, more pristine due to its pectiniform eximer physiognomy of lightning bolts, robotic rhizomes and laser lariats, with the bass bumper balconies of DIGITAL AGE only feasting too willfully on one's medulla as the acidocentric sawtooth arcs start their work in tandem with flangered amethysts, the latter of which take a U-turn from cryosteamed entities to genuinely warmhearted polyphonies. Nutritious Acid as prescribed by Dr. Methyr.
Last but most certainly not least is Methyr's sentimental sentiment in terms of that mid-90's fad called IDM. Back when the marketing buffs of the US of A only promoted music you could attach a prominent or pretty face to, the United Kingdom shrugged its shoulders and adored the mysterous aesthetics of the late 80's Rave riots, eventually transmogrifying them into Glitch-infested labyrinthine electro sparks. Enter ANTI-ANTI's behemoth and seventh track called STRUGGLE, a magnificent aeriform landsprout clocking in at almost nine minutes. Superchardged with analogue corkscrew patterns, yttrium vesicles and ground-loop AM radio frequencies, this adaxial locale worships those textures and ostracizes dem melodies. How refreshing and short ULTRAVIOLENCE is by comparison; its cowbell-and-breakbeat bigotry merges the (G)Lo-Fi gaudiness of Disco but never fails to properly present plenty of colorful bursts. Speaking of colors: DEATH (IN COLOR) is another ebullient IDM saprotroph, lasciviously swaying between playful cacophonies à la Orbital and mechanical industry lane fabrications. Methyr's ANTI-ANTI, where timbrical themes meet abrasive allure.
Methyr's Anti-Anti is a cerulean antimon-alloyed antithesis to the here and now. Its designedly antediluvian flashback and wormhole into the early 90's simulates the matutinal production values of that time and bundles them with cutting-edge technology. While the very thought of IDM and Vaporwave is always implied by means of syncopated cannelures and smokemachine-driven fogs amidst ventiducts, Anti-Anti has earned its place in AmbientExotica's Ambient section after all. Neither is it a pure Ambient multiplex nor a purified affair. The flavor of 90's Ambient, however, is spawned, emanated and radiated in each and every one of the 16 tracks. Think of early Warp material and its roster of talented artists, all of which made sure to inject a molten beatless core even in the eclectic productions. It is the granularity of the synths, coupled with anodized harbor bumps and lanthanum percussion, that pushes the listener back in time. Old BGM gamers will rejoice. As for the young 'uns: would you please come in and join the fun? Methyr's gelato aureoles are exquisite!
Further listening and reading:
- Anti-Anti can be obtained at Bedlam Digital’s Bandcamp page.
- Artist and label on Twitter: @methyr @BedlamTapes
- AmbientExotica's reviews and references about Methyr: this way.
Ambient Review 465: Methyr – Anti-Anti (2016). Originally published on May 11, 2016 at AmbientExotica.com.