Atmospheric, effects-heavy electronica is the hallmark vein of British Columbia’s Mike Soviet. Add occasional long-gone New Wave synth progressions a la Gary Newman and often-indecipherable lyrical matter and you more or less have the frenetic nature of Soviet’s new album Sacred. Though this outing boasts more polish than Not Chill; this stuff is fringe and certainly falls within the “acquired taste” realm.[youtube n3VNYFwBI70]
“Paganus” gets the album started and serves as an ample pace setter. Electronic generated percussion keeps beat with eerie key progressions just underneath Soviet’s effects-laden vocal delivery of: “My dad was a beatnik; my mom was a hippie/so I find life extremely trippy.” Trippy indeed. The same facets follow suit on “Mother Nature’s Fist” with an opening panic sample before the electronic hand clapping percussion bolsters the vocal delivery that is so effects-heavy some of the lyrics are hard to make out. The metaphorical message of the subject matter is a little clearer than that of the prior, but the delivery is what makes it hard to make out. The keys come out on the intro to “The Acquisition of Turnips and The Autocracy of Phlegm” before surrendering to the low frequency resonance and slight backing beat. This reminds me of a Say Hello track in that I cannot make out any clear meaning within the title or lyrical matter. The track is catchy once you get past the vagueness of the song on the whole. “Wack Gangster War” features opening dialogue that climaxes with a Dub Step-style rewind before giving way to what plays out as a three-minute plus drum solo. Being a percussionist, this is the track where Soviet shows us hands-on music making. Finally, “Beyond” is perhaps the most technically tight track on the album. The backing keys melody plods just behind Soviet’s vocal delivery sans heavy effects (there are some; they are just decipherable). Lyrically, once again, he may be the only one who really knows what the song meaning is, but it doesn’t detract from the musicality.
To reiterate, Sacred is far out stuff that really defies all pigeonholing. It is eclectic and manic and isn’t afraid to venture into the downright “strange” department. Technically, the album shows a growth in Soviet’s album-making prowess in that the production is clear and clean and beyond the amateur feel of the last album. If you want something you’ve probably never heard before and you happen to like the “other” category when it comes to your music; Soviet is probably your man.