Perturbator – The Uncanny Valley

Perturbator’s 2016 album The Uncanny Valley is undoubtedly a masterpiece. The hard hitting opening Neo Tokyo, immediately sets the scene and has you waiting in anticipation the first 12 seconds of the track – these are some of the longest 12 seconds on any record I’ve listened to – and then it hits you, and you’re immediately 10 feet deep in electronic nirvana.

You will listen to this album, don’t stop it – cause you’re in for a real treat. The album contains deep disco tracks such as Disco Inferno and beautiful and thoughtful lyrically interesting tracks such as Sentient.

If you’re not really into this genre, Sentient is so different that you might like it, yet it keeps one foot in The Uncanny Valley. Even though I’m absolutely blown away by the sound on this album, and the great melodies, and the style with which they’re presented this is definitely one of the strongest tracks on the record. Furthermore, Hayley Stewart’s vocals on this track are the strongest I’ve heard in her career thus far – please send me your contenders if you have any.

Diabolous Ex Machina or Assault will in contrast sum up the atmosphere of the record, although they’re melodically not the strongest candidates on the record but perfect tracks for getting your pulse up at live shows which is why their presence is mandatory on the album. Weapons for Children and Death Squad are slower but brilliant pieces which also exemplify the vibe of the record. The album is hard, yet it possesses a sensitivity and fragility that increases the emotional span of the record.

The album art is breathtaking. The more grotesque album with a succubus-like goddess on the front cover (to the left, in the header) – unfortunately not the cover chosen for the Spotify album art (right) (they censor content – this is a terrible decision in my humble opinion, but that’s probably a topic for a rant post at some future date). The alternative cover found on Spotify however perfectly illustrates the feeling I get, when I listen to the record.

I feel transported into a post mental apocalyptic setting where creepy machines (fitting the title : The Uncanny Valley), social networks and misinformation has concurred, where people are removed from their true feelings by prescribed drugs because everyone is diagnosed with mental illness. A society in which people are sedated by a stream of entertainment without substance, where there’s a real longing back to a world with meaning passion and dare I say it – love.

The Cult of 2112 increases my confidence in my interpretation and at least lets us know that the music is not just futuristic in sound.  

Femme Fatale (feat. Highway Superstar) stands in sharp contrast to the rest of the album, a quiet melodic piece, but it stays within the same atmosphere, but with mellow drums and a cross stick / rim click pattern and a soft hi-hat accented so many different accents, that you know it’s a live recording. The treble is joined by a deep and scarcely used bass drum. It’s a duet between the electronic sound of synth on one side, and the acoustic drums and a saxophone on the other.

Venger get’s us back to the party zone here featuring Greta Link, an artist I first heard on Perturbator’sI Am the Night record, where she’s singing on the Desire track. Desire is a fantastic piece, which IMO is stronger, than Venger. Venger is however a great track to say the least. Straight forward, danceable and pleasant and still fitting into the vibe set on the record.   

Disco Inferno, is another favorite of mine with it’s funky wah guitar and hard metal sounding synth, with a slightly feeding kick, and trust me, I’ve listened to this on a multitude of stereos and headphones  it’s meant to sound like this, and I love that “imperfection”. A rain of high pitched sounding double bass patterns torments you in the bridge, which made me read Perturbator’s Wikipedia page for Metal Music affiliation and of course I found it. This is probably one of the reasons I connected so deeply with this album – simply fantastic.  

If you want to get deeper into Perturbator’s discography here’s a short greatest hits playlist