Genesis, the debut EP from Aaalyssa Deboer, is a somewhat disappointing listening experience. Despite the British Columbia-based musician and model’s obvious enthusiasm for pioneering and leftfield music, her designs end up poorly-executed and underwhelming.
The EP opens with ‘Genesis’, which begins with a promising introduction of swirling synths. The sudden string section which immediately follows is fairly startling, and the basic sequence being played is then passed to different instruments for no apparent reason.
Despite an appealing bass rhythm which finds its way in and out of the track, the main problem here is a lack of continuity. Another imposing factor is the lack of composition knowledge, and rather than the track evolving into any kind of interesting climax or point of interest, it just kind of switches between sequences before suddenly ending. All in all, the track sounds like a collection of initial synth sketches rather than a cohesive product.
The second track on the release, Aurora Trailing, features many of the same shortsighted mistakes as Genesis. A stab sequence, which would probably have sounded pretty cool with the right accompaniment, instead just plays over a switching and disjointed background of basic programmed loops. Intermittently, a bass pattern pulsates in between these sections, and once again there is no coherence with regards to the track’s flow or any particular moment within it.
This Is Not Reality, the third song, is definitely an improvement over the two earlier efforts. While I still feel that DeBoer needs to focus heavily on improving her sense of composition, this one does manage to pass for a kind of experimental/minimal techno track and the piano sequence sits well on top of the pulsating bass pattern. There’s even some nice use of filters here, and the subsequent sense of development – slight though it may be – manages to make the track a much more interesting listen than its predecessors.
The EP’s closing track, Blue Jets and Red Sprites, shows some further promise despite some fairly cheap sounding synth choices. The track centers around a few violin sequences played on top of the same 4/4 rhythms found elsewhere in the release; the bass carrying the track along manages to nicely bring together the classical and techno influences, and the use of LFOs during the bridge sections shows definite promise for DeBoer’s future efforts.
In summary, my main problem with the Genesis EP is the arbitrary instrumentation; there’s a lot here that exists only to break up the sections which DeBoer is actually focusing on, and this sense of filler means that those parts never really get to shine.
The artist’s aspirations to blend vastly different musical influences (such as classical and techno) are apparent, but much of the execution ends up sounding like a tribute to Kraftwerk. This is obviously not a bad thing, but I get the distinct feeling that this was not her intention.
It’s all well and good to produce experimental and minimal music, but the standards for doing something impressive in those fields is typically even higher than those found elsewhere. I hope that, as her artistic voice continues to develop, DeBoer can fulfill her ambitions and hopefully become a trailblazer within the experimental techno genre.