Apparently the popular consensus is that the complex engine aka Mike Stoodley sounds like a cross between Brian Eno and Caberet Voltaire. I would have to have to agree but I think Bowie as well as electronic demigod The Field could be thrown in there as well. One of the things that I immediately embraced about the songs on audience free noise was the production quality. It definitely has a ‘70s palette of tones that are comparable to records like Another Green World and Low. Even more impressive than the sound is the fact the Stoodley did it all himself. Let’s get a couple of things straight though. Stoodley had high-quality pre-amps and compressors to help him out but that still doesn't negate the fact you need to know how to use them properly.
Audience free noise has four songs and I dug all of them. Stoodley mixes up synths, guitars and more in an inventive way while also adding catchy vocal melodies for all of us who still enjoy a good hook. The songs are easy to enjoy on the surface and you can also delve in a bit more with a nice pair of headphones.
The reason I mentioned The Field was pretty much because of the first song “skin.” It starts with a hypnotic electronic beat that gets layered with more waves of noise. It is thoroughly enjoyable stuff but unlike The Field becomes more guitar-based. He ends up creating a pretty impressive wall of white noise that fans of shoegaze will eat up. The song is surprisingly short at just over two minutes. He could have kept on going with that groove for a least another minute before I lost interest. The second track “the empty news” is much more indicative of the Bowie/Eno thing he has going on. Very good song overall. Love the guitar tone and the vocals were solid however not his best performance.
“Dusk” has a bass driven verse that explodes into a grandiose chorus. I really enjoyed the vocal melody on this track. He sings, “if only I could conjure I'd make a sweet cool breeze float me away like fairydown settle me now where the air is clean but that hot wind, its gotten me beat its meltin' me down still, I'm waitin', for the coldness of your call.”
The winner for me out of the four was the last track “dapper man.” It’s a bit more melancholy than some of the other tracks and the stacked vocal harmonies sounded stellar. The first half of the song revolves around the vocals while on the second half they are omitted so your ears can focus on the atmospheric array of sounds.
Audience free noise is good but it also felt like an appetizer but no biggie because Stoodely is making more material on a monthly basis. Make sure to check "a gift of sorts" and "honey". There will be a lot more from Stoodley soon.
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