The new era of electronic music
Published: Sunday, October 21, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
Album: To End the Illusion of Separation
Release Date: Oct. 16
Label: Rootwire Records
Familiar electronic groups agitate the senses into experiencing joy through repetition. These melodic mantras take shape in dub step, electronica, dance and house – as bass lines and arpeggios, crescendos and drops, kicks and snares. Electronic dance music’s (EDM) mantras form the motion, repetition and harmony as a cyclic force of energy.
But rarely does an electronic group use these tools to portray the essence of spiritual interconnectivity, stating boldly that humans are a single being who inhabits a living, breathing world. One group has decided to echo these concepts, including one that gurus and spiritual leaders have tried frequently to illuminate.
Separation is just an illusion.
When music inhabits a realm of thought, it gains the glimmer seen in livetronica quintet Papadosio. With a high amount of sheer concentration, Papadosio has birthed a 20-track, two-hour long expression, which they call To End the Illusion of Separation (TETIOS).
When Papadosio took on the task of opening minds through its music, the group packed into its studio, tucked under the Smoky Mountains of Asheville, N.C. and hit record. This environment gave the band what it was searching for: tranquility, and it provided a lush green atmosphere for organic allure.
"We feel it is extremely important as artists to surround ourselves with natural beauty and silence to allow inspiration to erupt out of us unabated,” said a post on Papadosio’s blog, Tales from the Studio.
TETIOS opens strongly with “Direction Song” and begins to immerse the listener in spatial synthesis while keyboards and bass step strikingly into the mix. The lyrics put in place the mantra of a required direction and put the album into metaphorical motion.
“Able minds are working/Open hearts are learning/Give me some direction,” Papadosio sings.
“We Are Water” picks up the electronic elements of the album even more with synths and MIDI devices making good use of stereo effects and high-end production. The track contains sound samples from interviews with Dr. Masaru Emoto – a scientist who has researched a concept called water memory – while the group attempts to imitate the sound of water with digital and organic instruments. This produces a very intimate, experimental and psychedelic experience that projects itself onto the listener.
“Mancoluto,” a song named after a Peruvian Shaman who can be heard singing on the track, acts as a small break from high-quality, punchy tunes into something more tangible. Papadosio uses this recording to represent the spiritual nature of the album by gently plucking a guitar in the background and using electronically generated sounds to fade out.
Papadosio’s musicality is quite poignant throughout TETIOS, and the development of its composition displays a highly attuned understanding of form and progression. Several songs contain a groove that quickly turns around into something unexpected, with immense transitional sophistication. The group includes songs in odd-meter – a beat structure that contains an odd number of beats per measure like in Pink Floyd’s “Money.”
Papadosio’s “Puddles for Oceans” is able to feel natural while implementing this complex structure. This is in part due to the precision and tightness of the bass and drums while a lead piano melody creates continuation.
“Don’t limit emotion/Trade puddles for the ocean/What will it take to make/Sense out of human beings?” Papadosio sings.
“Cue,” one of the singles on the album, dispenses a serious synth solo, which keeps the tone comparable to Datarock’s airy rock songs. The groove backs up just enough for a mandolin solo to take hold, and then with another transition, back into the original hook. It is one of the most successful tracks on the album, because of its ability to alter the emotions of the listener through rising action.
The repetition of the phrase, “Why don’t we own up to it?” is sung with varying harmonies, showing focus on using every instrument as a means to move forward.
It is clear from this release that electronic music will no longer be deaf to concept albums. Papadosio has proved there’s more than just dance in EDM; there’s a world of discovery – of interconnectedness. This band has made a huge step with this album, and we can only hope other groups will follow in its footsteps.
This is not an album to approach lightly. It is an album that requires a few deep breaths and an open mind. Regardless of listeners’ approach, however, they will not be disappointed.