Natural Language, my second album as Avvenir, is out now, and I'm really excited to finally have it available for all of you to listen to. In many ways, it's a continuation of Glyphs, an homage to early '90s acid techno, with hints of industrial, glitch, and other styles that were bubbling up when I was a teenager. Is my look back to 1993-to-'95 just a little bit nostalgic? Sure, but my hope is that people will hear a convergence of styles that feels contemporary.
Moreover, in terms of my own progress I've sharpened the sensibilities of my first LP; where my Avvenir debut was very much a scattering of different techno subgenres, Natural Language is meant to fit together as a Capital-A album, conceived with a particular set of aesthetic and thematic throughlines in mind. And since I love talking about influence, I've put together a playlist of music I was listening to while composing this new record.
Once again, Autechre reigns: I can't deny that Tri Repetae was central to the aesthetic of Natural Language—caustic and alien, marked by flanged and distorted beats, stark melodies, and brief excursions into noise. But where even Tri Repetae's melodies sound machine-made, I wanted to give Natural Language a warmer, more orchestral spin. Aphex Twin's Donkey Rhubarb EP had a big impact in that regard, but Björk's Homogenic packs an even stronger melodic punch, an album featuring some of the most beautiful orchestration I've ever heard.
Industrial music is also a big reference. I hit my teenage years when the "3rd wave" of industrial came to pass, and often find myself following in the footsteps of groups from that era, darkening the melodic songs I write with bursts of atonality. Special shout-out to Neubauten's "The Garden": Natural's closer, "Humanism", is an unintentional riff on that song's orchestral melody. I was totally unaware of the resemblance until after finishing the arrangement.
Notably, the vast majority of Coil and Cabaret Voltaire's records are missing from Spotify (specifically The Snow for the former, and Plasticity for the latter), so not much of their works are included here. However, there were many days during the writing process where I listening to nothing but their respective discographies on shuffle.
For those who are unaware: Natural Language will be absolutely free through the end of November when you sign up for the Safety mailing list. Sign up now, and tell your friends!