My wife Katie spends more time on atmospheric and electronica music these days than I do. I’m still trying to sort out Kraftwerk and The Underworld to keep up with anything recent. Still, Katie has a keen ear, and when she suggested I listen to The Acid, I quickly took her advice. Everything else aside, I have to live with her, and it helps to have some common music interests. It also helps to do what I’m told. I’m still uncovering layers, so this is certainly the definitive comment on The Acid, but I’ve noticed one or two fascinating elements to the group’s music.
The Acid offers an electronica sound, and sometimes that sound builds to the point of resembling most melodic electronica. However, more often, and more interestingly, the frequently us sound as punctuation rather than melody. Suddenly, for one note, Jens Kuross’s voice might be in chorus, and then the effect is gone. In the middle of “Creeper,” from their 2014 album, Liminal, they might suddenly insert a burst of electronic noise followed by a half second of sampled female voices.
The specific genre, or sub-genre, is called “minimalist,” which means sort of what you’d think it means: Jens Kuross moans snatches of lyric that are over-processed and spit out as a kind of whine, while music, beats, whatever comes and goes over the course of a “song.”
In the end, though, I’d say the effect is akin to “freeform jazz.” Even when there’s no actual beat – Kuross’s voice – the songs manage to maintain a pulse of some sort that holds it all together, and the various inserted moments of sound create a soundscape that’s almost as visual as it is auditory.
All in all, good stuff. You’ll think it’s good as background music, but the truth is that it warrants close listening.
Bonus points for the tune “Fame,” which references David Bowie if Bowie were using Peter Gabriel’s vocal chords.
MK Adkins has a Ph.D in English that he occasionally uses to think about literature, but more often uses to think about television, music and film. Adkins is the author of two popular culture books as well as numerous articles and reviews. Until recently, he worked as a college professor but made the decision to devote himself full-time to writing and podcasting in January 2019.
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