Nathaniel DeBoer aka Aspired had a degree in audio engineering and over a decade of classical musical training across various instruments from piano to trombone before completing his recent release The Sentience Collective. The Sentience Collective for the most part combines a good amount of electronic elements into easily digestible pop songs. That being said, DeBoer flirts with multiple sub genres such as techno to what could be considered more avant-garde compositionally styles.
DeBoer opens with ominous pads and a deep thick hip-hop style drumbeat on the opening track “Thoughts.” Musically, it can be compared to Boards Of Canada. DeBoer delivers one of his best vocal performances on this song. He sounded best when his vocals were hushed and within his range. Around the three-minute mark he strains his voice a little bit too much before getting back on track. “Impetus” takes a steady 4/4 kick as he surrounds it with gritty lead synths and a number of other percussive elements. It’s one of the most if not the most commercially viable track on the album.
On “Copper Winds” DeBoer explores sub frequencies and it reminded of a programming style similar to Dntel while “Endless Sunrise” is a hopeful but melancholy laced pop song that contains an inspired vocal performance. ”Synesthesia” has arguably the best programming on the album. DeBoer pays attention to the details on this song making for a certified headphone warmer that sounds best in relaxation mode.
“The Technologizing of Language - Part 2” introduces sounds and notes that have a philosophical, contemplation undercurrent. In some ways it feels triumphant and empowering.
There are some missteps on The Sentience Collective and some moments that didn’t pan out so well. All in all the missteps are minor compared to the moments that worked. There were a number of notable songs that if you have any interest in electronic composition or pop music you will most likely enjoy.
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