The Synaesthetic Picture Show Now Play, Pt 2 by electronic group Elektragaaz is probably going to be the best electronica release you hear this year. If you don’t believe or agree with that, I can guarantee it’ll land amongst the most interesting and memorable. Elektragaaz is headed by Frisian composer Redband and features a revolving door of up and coming and established musicians coming from New York. Much like the descriptor of NYC being “the melting pot” or people, here is a swirling odyssey of limitless talent all working together to create something featuring such disparate tracks, but all of whom flow together to tell a story of whatever you want it to be.
Electronic music has a reputation in a lot of pop culture as just being club bangers, which is ignoring the decades of new ideas that have come from acts like Aphex Twin who have revolutionized the genre from the club bangers to the ambient lo-fi craze we’re in the midst of. You can certainly tell that influence is all over Picture Show given that the first part of the release from earlier this year is a more bubbly affair with sprinkles of different genre flourishes but you could tell more was coming by way of experimenting with tones and layers. Here, the album is like an organism constantly growing and evolving and we’re privy to all its growing pains so to speak. It’s not as if the album has any hiccups, it’s beautifully rendered and you can tell Redband had a particular vision, probably stemming from his Synesthesia which allows him to see music interpreted as shapes and colors.
It’s imaginative and daring and doesn’t care to be pinned down to one genre or even subgenres as we bounce across pop, samba, light metal aesthetics and countless more. Some might find it it a bit too much like a grab bag and off the top of my head I can think of two tracks that might not be for everyone, but the opener and closer help create a real cinematic feeling and it works perfectly as a standalone but also as a follow up to its more light counterpart from earlier this year. Since the group is still somewhat in its infancy, as far as speculation goes I could easily see this group quickly rise amongst the most interesting artists working in the genre today, especially considering the massive shoes left to fill with many electro acts retiring. I also hope with the rise of live music now that the pandemic is seemingly in our rearview, we’ll all have the pleasure of seeing this group in person and get a better look at how all these wonderful talents blend together.
If you’re looking for the kind of electronic that you can pop in and tune out in the background, this isn’t it. It’s a living breathing work of art that commands your attention and your imagination. It’s a joy to get lost in and I for one hope there’s another sequel in store.