Rating:
8.0
The Algorithm - OCTOPUS4
2 June 2014


01. autoRun
02. discovery
03. _MOS
04. will_smith
05. ピタゴラスPYTHAGORAS
06. synthesiz3r
07. damage points
08. void
09. loading
10. un dernier combat
11. recovery fail!
12. octopus4


The Algorithm, as its name suggests, is an electronic one-man project held by Rémi Gallego. His 2012 debut, Polymorphic Code, was as good a surprise as opening a box of Danish cookies and finding actual cookies in it - and the good chocolaty kind, not the ones with the dried-up, tooth-breaking raisins. Its unique recipe of djent and electro left us all longing for this new release, OCTOPUS4, which I am supposed to tell you about.

01010100 01101000 01101001 01110011 00100000 01101001 01110011 00100000 01101110 01101111 01110100 00100000 01101101 01100101 01110100 01100001 01101100 00101110

There I just did. I told you in binary code that this is not a metal album. Polymorphic Code grew up and transformed into an octopus that extends its tentacles to poke at many other genres than just metal and dubstep.

OCTOPUS4 starts out easy with "autoRun", that gently evolves to incorporate a post-rock-like guitar line as well as his signature fast spasmodic keyboards. At that point the album enters a phase that will most likely bring a smile to your face, as it uses elements of chiptune that could remind you of your arcade gaming days. Metal-like riffs and drums are still here and there, but merely to add tension and punctuate the tracks that are a lot more cheerful than you'd expect. But two long tracks of almost nothing but those variations around 8-bit music can be tiring.

Thankfully the album changes directions with "will_smith" and "ピタゴラスPYTHAGORAS", that re-introduce us to the mathematical side of The Algorithm. This shift in gears is confirmed with very welcome long - and thick enough - guitar samples. This second third of the album is based mostly on a dubstep structure, with its usual build-ups and bass-drops, but with subtlety and intelligence. Words that come rarely in the same sentence as "dubstep".

"synthetiz3r", which can easily be described as one of the heaviest tentacles this sea-monster has to deploy, features one of the most surprising blends of musical styles I ever heard in the short span of 60 seconds. Imagine this: Optimus Prime and Starscream on a date, Optimus gets Stary to follow him home, puts some 90's eurodance in the background to set the mood for foreplay, followed by a long growl that you could only interpret as Starscream complaining about the lack of lube. That crazy session of love-making ends on a faraway soaring guitar solo, which can help you vividly imagine how salty Starscream's tears must taste.

The album goes on and features a more breakcore/drum'n'bass-based track by the name of "damage points". We are then past the first half, and the light tunes like "discovery" are far away.

We get a little rest with a spacey ambient short interlude that operates as an easy transition between the second and last third of the record. Slower but also darker tracks are to be expected as we approach the end. The ones past "void" include more space-related soundscapes that introduce a little fantasy of Remi's. He indeed felt free to add a little rapped verse to the mix in "un dernier combat", dealing with his troubles with psycho-pharmacology. This is proof that The Algorithm wants to experiment in a more serious way and not just have fun. Although, between froggies, I'd advise him not to start a French rap project any time soon. Surprisingly, the album ends on an explosive piece that mixes insane blastbeats as well as moments heavily influenced by traditional old-school EBM and industrial. The whole thing fades out into an unexpected long and smooth lounge jazz outro that feels as useless as a band-aid on an open fracture.

As a conclusion, I would say the whole experience, because of how dense it is, could have been shortened, even coming from a techno lover as myself. OCTOPUS4's flaws could all be the consequences of wanting to do too much, which makes me hope the next opus will be a little less zealous. OCTOPUS4 is an album for open-minded listeners that do not mind having a lot of wubwubwub in their shredshredshred. The song structures and the genre-hopping don't make this an easy listen, especially for the unfamiliar with electronic music. But it is adult enough to use all those different little facets of Gallego's musical culture to make a record worthy of being listened to at least once.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 10
Production: 9


 


written by Ilham | 13.07.2014


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



Comments

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wrathchild - 13.07.2014 at 12:51  
It's fully streaming on Soundcloud, pretty interesting. Proggers should have no problems with "the song structures and the genre-hopping" hopefully.
In fact the only thing I dislike are the typical electronic drums although from what I saw they bring in a drummer when performing live.
Mr. Doctor - 13.07.2014 at 16:27  
Wait a second? Are we in MA all of a sudden? Long review coming up.
Nah, just teasing you. I did read it all hahahahah. I'm slowly falling in love with this album so it doesn't feel long to me. It just passes me by. That transformers analogy was... Something else.

Would be nice to read more reviews from you! Although just as a tip: Try to keep it 500 max.
Ilham - 13.07.2014 at 17:08  
Written by wrathchild on 13.07.2014 at 12:51
In fact the only thing I dislike are the typical electronic drums although from what I saw they bring in a drummer when performing live.
Yes, Mike Malyan performs on the drums during the live shows. I hear it's a spectacular and unusual gig to attend. I'm sure you'd like it, from what I saw on YouTube videos. I'd love to go to one myself.

Written by Mr. Doctor on 13.07.2014 at 16:27
Wait a second? Are we in MA all of a sudden? Long review coming up.
Would be nice to read more reviews from you! Although just as a tip: Try to keep it 500 max.
Well Doc, you know the album, and I'm sure you can understand why the long review. I actually deleted ten lines, and I just couldn't take out more. It's a dense and rich release. I can express myself in shorter ways and will if there are any future reviews. Thank you for the encouragement, I just need to find the right albums .
Mr. Doctor - 13.07.2014 at 17:16  
Written by Ilham on 13.07.2014 at 17:08

Written by Mr. Doctor on 13.07.2014 at 16:27
Wait a second? Are we in MA all of a sudden? Long review coming up.
Would be nice to read more reviews from you! Although just as a tip: Try to keep it 500 max.
Well Doc, you know the album, and I'm sure you can understand why the long review. I actually deleted ten lines, and I just couldn't take out more. It's a dense and rich release. I can express myself in shorter ways and will if there are any future reviews. Thank you for the encouragement, I just need to find the right albums .


No problems. I getcha. I can hink of a couple of albums where I would go overboard as well. I actually really enjoy the ending despite agreeing of it being useless. Useless fun I guess. I was pretty surprised by the blastbeats at the end. Sounded pretty extreme so it was a clever ending.
Ilham - 13.07.2014 at 17:56  
Written by Mr. Doctor on 13.07.2014 at 17:16

I actually really enjoy the ending despite agreeing of it being useless. Useless fun I guess. I was pretty surprised by the blastbeats at the end. Sounded pretty extreme so it was a clever ending.

I don't think it was useless in the strict sense of the word. I just think after such a display of violence, the soothing effect of that jazzy outro wasn't enough to make you forget about the furious last minute blastbeating. Hence the comparison with the open fracture. But yeah you got what I meant.
psykometal - 13.07.2014 at 21:19  
Damnit, I really need to remember to get this next time I'm in town...
AnGina-- - 13.07.2014 at 21:42  
I like long reviews and this is a good one. I only read it because I found the band name and the album title appealing and now by the words of it, I just might need to check this one out.
Ilham - 13.07.2014 at 23:33  
Thank you! Happy to see it didn't deter you from reading it. If the number of times I said "dubstep" didn't make you gag, the album will make you gaga .
!J.O.O.E.! - 14.07.2014 at 01:06  
I don't like long reviews so I skimmed it =P I would probably give this an 8 too. It's definitely an improvement on the previous album and very enjoyable indeed.

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