The Always People






The double-sidedness of Southern California is a well-known epitome from which many an artist draws inspiration from, and although this statement may be written decades too late, what with the local/global faceless movement of bedroom producers, the availability of synth patches and the certainly auspicious border-crossing in an increasingly borderless world aesthetic- and knowledge-wise, chances are that the electronic retro duo The Always People are as fascinated by the desiccate-calcined afterglow of the desert as they are keen on the auroral flamboyancy that supposedly resonates within the state’s megacities. After a battery of synth-focused EP’s and shorter ventricles, Bermuda is the first full-length artifact in a world of chromodynamics and amethystine anhydrides. Available to purchase (name your price) and fully stream at Bandcamp, the anonymous duo takes the exogenous elements of everyone’s favorite V-genre and marries them with the percolating traditions of Synth Pop, Outrun mica and serpentine subgenres. Bermuda’s 11 tracks are few and far between the styles and concepts, but there is one paroxysm that is omnipresent in each track and makes the collection an album after all: known as discrepancy, cleavage or asymmetry, The Always People pour a lot of carbonaceous darkness into a volatile synthorama.


Reciprocating between viridian Rave rhizomes and vermillion semi-cacophony, the opener Hall Pass stomps along, unsure of its own direction, but all the more effulgent in its obliquity. Bumping lo-freq fusillades, ocean waves made of lanthanoid-fueled metallicity and umbrageous vibe-like electric piano tensors make for a crepuscular gateway which leads to the adjacent Cabal, a pulsatile suntrap made of softened sirens, amalgamations of stacked sinews made of thermal heat and a snare-backed beat punctilio. Spawning tidal flaring and sensorial microlensing, this is the beach tune for contemplating folks who favor isolation in lieu of plethoric chitchat. After the vanillarific vocoder ventiduct 2112, follow-up Ionizer absorbs the mellow sanctuary of Cabal, but augments the former’s magnetotails with rhombohedral steel pans, lilting kick drums and other turquoise visions. Rotoscoping in salubrious climates, it is the very tune that best envisions the artistry as depicted on the front artwork. Clarity and haziness merge into a holistic photodissociation of the Caribbean kind.


Bermuda keeps its polysemous aura in the second half as well. Circumambience, Coldwave and Glo-Fi vesicles meet, mesh and depart ad infinitum, worshipping both a mesozoic and futuristic lavabo. Pole Dancer Cooldown, for instance, might sport a lascivious title alright, but is actually a pressure chamber filled with an icosahedral chirality, perfectly encapsulating the contrapuntal forces that float through the album: is it a tune of nomological benignancy and thus earthbound gravitas, or an opposite orthogonal lariat crossing the verglas epithelium into panchromatic estuaries in space? Ever-pulsating, amniotically gleaming, it is a faintly clandestine solanum whose amicable airflow eventually enchants. Wicked Rice meanwhile caters to the crowd of oversaturated screechfests, mediating between Glitch and Shoegaze in equal parts. The cornerstone of the titration is a scything electric guitar which later amends the uptempo outrun hydrazine; interpolated by beats, driven by cascading plasticizer synths, it is a scrimshaw artifact of the 80’s. Oozing through polyfoil hexangular quiltings and caproic fibers, the endpoint is reached in the shape of In The Movies, a gorgeous apotheosis spawning viscoelastic chord progressions, alkalic synth serrations, cinematic visions and fluttering diffractions of incandescent neon fermions. Metropolitan beats round off a spectacular set of callisthenics, finishing the album with a positive photometry.


It is hard to pinpoint the distinctive mood that reigns in Bermuda, let alone a mere cotyledon that might grow into a pericarp sooner rather than later. Whatever to call the diffeomorphism at the end of the day, it holds together the versatile material and agglutinates common grounds, coherence and stringency whenever possible. Every song contains a darker edge, showcasing the proclivity of twilight themes, oneiric catalepsies and sizzling superfluids. It is the principality of this comparatively dark pith of nonentity that lets the appended helicoidal harmonies grow and radiate all the stronger. Occasionally the ride is bumpy and tumular, and if one doesn't view this release with Vaporwave glasses, chances are that the programmed beats are a tad too eclectic and convoluted for one's taste. To me, this is a boon, and although Bermuda never crosses paths with the labyrinthine – and cursed – genre nominator known as IDM, it shares a sentiment in that there is only one multiplex of aesthetics, to use an oft-cited genre term, that fits on a per-song basis; sometimes, textures and melodies are conflictive, at other times a sophisticated beat disturbs the aerose ambience by carving a vestibule into the vertiginous cosmos, but again, this all works to the advantage of The Always People’s heterodox morphogenesis. Spectral, coruscating, incidentally exhilarative and inducing the superstructure of the 80’s: it’s Bermuda!


Further listening and reading:


Vaporwave Review 073: The Always People – Bermuda (2015). Originally published on May 5, 2015 at