Forming in 2007 Guido Van Den Brink and Pim Arnoldus make up Atiq & EnK. Their latest release, Fear of the Unknown, packs just about every genre you could imagine from the electronic umbrella including breakbeat, ambient, dubstep, trip-hop and even classical. Beats hit hard and distant voices peek their head to remind you of dreams past. On some tracks orchestration coats the songs with a blanket of warmth while at other times lead square synths gain your attention. Fear of the Unknown sometimes suffers because of the abundance of ideas but still is an entertaining album that delivers innovative ideas, which only a seasoned pro could pull off. The album is full of advanced programming techniques not unlike something that you might hear from Burial. Also similar to Burial is the often ominous tones that permeates the songs. Sometimes the drums and bass drop out entirely making way for dark atmospheres and samples that a less experienced electronic musician may not know how to accomplish.
The album opens with “Stay with the Familiar” which starts with a couple of manipulated vocal samples that eventually get bombarded by a thick drum beat that envelopes the samples like a black hole devouring the surrounding planets. The song contains enough glitched-out subtleties that can keep you entertained just by itself but as the song progresses it becomes more layered with orchestration. “Moonlit Tea Party” provides a delightfully ominous atmosphere as soft kick drum provides enough energy to tide you over until the full EDM kit comes into play. The orchestration and breakdown works well on this song. I loved the swirls that the orchestration was providing. “Slow Clouds” was one of my favorite tracks as the drum programming was, as Die Antwoord would say, “next level.” I have to admit I was a little thrown off with “Like an Angel’s Feather” which revolved around Gregorian chants that made the whole track feel cinematic. The second half of the album was hit and miss for me. The way they decided to end the album was a bit unusual. The whole album is instrumental electronic but the last track includes Mike Redman rapping over the beats. The inclusion of this song threw me off and took the focus off the programming and instead on to the lyrics. Besides a few flubs this album has a number of stellar tracks that seamlessly blend sub-genres of electronica to create one exceptional album that you will want to check out.
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