Oscar L Finch is the brainchild behind Venn Diagram and you can sense some of his influences after listening to just a couple of tracks of his intricate, headphone exploring album entitled The Desolate Sound of Extinction. To name a few, you may notice some resemblance to Kraftwerk, Aphex Twin, Steve Reich as well as John Cage to Pantha du Prince. The album is a deeply thought out journey that has some of the most impressive percussive, rhythmic programming I have heard in quite some time that creates collages of sound that form a symbiotic relationship against the somewhat endless variations of synths, drones, rings, and samples that permeate the album. This is the type of album I love simply cause I never get bored of listening to it. There are so many sounds and crevasses to explore and the songs constantly mutate and transform leaving almost no time for you to get settled on a melody.
It's obvious after listening to this album how much time and attention was put into it. The beauty is in the details here and if you have any experience with composing electronic music you will appreciate this about the album. Finch made the decision to use hardware instead of utilizing his DAW for his recording hub and used a number of both analog and digital synths such as the Nord Modular, Analog Solutions Synthesizers and Elektron music machines to name a few. He also used a Zoom H1 and H4 to capture found sounds and field recordings and then manipulated them in post production. While this information is interesting none of it would matter if Finch didn't have the ear to assemble it all into a glorious concoction of sound. Luckily, Finch isn't some novice using presets in garageband but rather is in the upper echelon of electronic artists who dig deeper and don't rely on predictable arrangements and patterns. In addition, to the stellar production Finch didn't cut any corners when it came to sound quality. He utilized a premier mastering facility to polish off his songs in the analog domain before sending them off to the public.
The opener "Neophyte" gives a clear example of whether you will like this album or not. It starts with a surplus of sounds that seem to have no coherence together until right after the 1:00 minute mark where a bass is introduced as electronic drums drift about that are altered in real time with LFO's, envelopes, and oscillators. The song eventually sounds like the cousin of an Aphex Twin song before it de-evolves into a swamp of primordial currents. "Opti is my Symbiont" is a bit more straight forward but no less intricate with a well of production tricks that will have noobs to the genre scratching their heads as to how he made those sounds. One of the highlights was "Everyday is Busy" which sounded a bit like early Squarepusher with his emphasis on almost jazzy sounding bass lines and synths that sounded like horns. The next three songs are crisp pieces that each have there something to become immersed with but are merely clips compared to the the 17 minute centerpiece of the album called "The Desolate Sound of Extinction (I II III)" which is not for the feint of heart. The sprawling song while probably being a bit shorter I would have enjoyed even more showcases all the strengths of Finch in one song. The last song "Organum Requiem" contains a serene, sometimes mysterious ambiance that chooses to forgo a deep low-end (despite the occasional bass drum hit) and instead trickles with percussive elements that mostly lie in the mid to upper range.
Venn Diagram's The Desolate Sound of Extinction is an exceptional electronic album the explores the realms of possibility within the genre. The album maintains a consistently paternal attitude that treats and cares for every sound as if it was the only one that mattered. While I could go on about this album, I think it's time for you to take a listen.
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