Review: Celephaïs – Grey Dawn, Quaint Gardens

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Ordo Viatorum surprised us first with the split between Neugeborene Nachtmusik and Onont Kombar, to us they seemed like an off-shoot to Enfant Terrible at first – though they share common ground in a lot of aspects – this label is run by Jeroen Holthuis and Maurice Hermes. The label is even more experimental, if that is even a possibility. The second release to be reviewed on Repartiseraren came out in November last year, and features the first album of the duo Celephaïs – Ian Martin (Kaval, Opfer) and Jeroen Holthuis, titled “Grey Dawn, Quaint Gardens“.

We were sent a physical vinyl (limited edition of 300) which is remarkable in all its simplicity, but more on that later on in this article, as we’re about to show you the full layout of the release itself in the pictures below.

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Gladly enough, there’s nothing negative to report about in the shipping process, everything looks pristine and is working as intended. So here’s where PostNord actually didn’t screw up in terms of delivery, a once in a lifetime experience. There are two more pictures which feature the A-Side and the B-Side of the vinyl itself, which can be viewed down below, and then we’re off to the aesthetic aspect of this release.

The aesthetic aspect of Grey Dawn, Quaint Gardens

It is clean, easy on the eyes and beautiful in its own particular way. White and black, some hints of light brown on the vinyls themselves, and the insert almost looks like a Rorschach-test. There’s always been hints of different colors beneath the black and white facade that Ordo Viatorium have portrayed before this release, there are subtle notions of something else hidden away that you’d have to look for before even finding it.

Even though the aesthetics aren’t that pleasing when it comes to the cover, it is simply because it is not something we’ve grasped and can relate to in any way, it feels like a profound release when viewing the package as a whole, but be wary of catching a mind-virus, as it feels like looking at something resized a million times as if it was originally viewed through a microscope.

Those kinds of aesthetics are not off-putting, but it is subliminal in a way that we cannot fathom – but the artists themselves had a clear intention of putting images in our heads – and that goes perfectly well with the music. It’s pretty standard for any experimental release to have something that doesn’t adhere to the norm – but it has rather become the opposite – that experimental aesthetics have set their own norm – which isn’t touching your soul in the same, rebel spirit as it may once adhered to.

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The musical aspect of Grey Dawn, Quaint Gardens

As described earlier, this duo consists of Ian Martin and Jeroen Holthuis, both of them are no strangers to experimental electronic music. Ordo Viatorum is proving to be a viable platform for these projects to flourish, without the help from the outside and little to none recognition, which is wholly undeserved. The musical experience these two possess is what reveals itself in this debut-album, “Grey Dawn, Quaint Gardens“, now we’re going to delve into it as per usual – on a track-by-track basis – for the review.

Undreamed Dreams” is a paradox in itself by name, but it adheres to the concept in the title of the track, a dreamy and ambivalent soundscape set in motion by a hushed electronic motion that steadily creeps in on you. A boat that never reaches harbor, a train that huffs and puffs like the old days but never stops on a platform – a continuum between awake and asleep. It is a ghastly feeling to be caught in a limbo, the more you notice the vague and sensible touches put in there by the artists, the more uneasy it feels listening to it.

We conjure the most horrible thoughts, as time passes by this is where time stops for a while and feels like an eternity. Not even on the second track yet, and we’re not even upset because of boredom, but it is upsetting to be drawn in and latched on to musically – it feels like never letting go, a constant reminder that you can only affect as much of the world around you, but it doesn’t make a difference in the end. There are some beautiful nihilistic tendencies which gives off a cold, stale emotionally charged vibe.

The music itself is as if ambient were re-occupied by the greatness of Tim Hecker’s earlier material once again, just in a completely different setting. It is very European in style, and delivers what can be construed as a thoughtful but menacing barrage of noisy synthesizers, simple but provoking droned out sounds, abhorrent ringing sounds and rambunctious arpeggios – a wake-up call on a Sunday evening that Monday is tomorrow.

Resentful Of Awaking” is being hit by the sunlight when you just want to pass out, another day to tackle with inane activities. What becomes clear after two songs in is how accurate the titles are, they have not just been made up out of the blue, like most ambient songs have – they actually reflect themselves into the music, as it have reflected it back when first being named. This one is more beautiful in a calming fashion, though some of the sounds manage to send a chilling feeling down our spine. If we’d hear this every time we’d be waking up, we would’ve been filled with energy and optimistic about the rest of the day.

There is a certain nerve of darkness that smothers itself upon you, when the rain hits your window and you’re forced to endure walking through it on your way to work. When the music is so thought-provoking in different ways, and you can just soak it in – doesn’t matter if it is negative or positive – you know the musicians have succeeded. It is an art form if you manage to pull so many strings, so many nuanced feelings in between that can’t be written in words, that you should be aware of what talent you’ve amassed.

Damp Stone Spiral Stairway” is the best song overall on the A-Side of this vinyl, nothing beats the constant brooding, deep base tone that makes your head spin round and round like the vinyl itself on the turntable. You may feel nauseous, you may be a bit dissy after hearing it – but when paired with the flair and urgent sounds in the background – the atmosphere cannot get any better. Having built upon a solid ground, this uproots on itself and heads upwards, through the mountains. Have I ever wanted to witness Aurora Borealis in sound, this is it – or at least close to one of nature’s phenomenons – it is almost as if they’d want to mimic something like that with the sound.

When paired with the whole audio-visual experience, this song becomes even better and should solely be watched together with this video, even though it definitely holds up on its own. Some of the best combinations of ambient and experimental electronica in general that we’ve heard for quite some time.

Red-Roofed Pagoda” starts off with a whirlwind of buzzing sounds, spaced out electronic music and a more industrially-oriented paved way musically. There’s more surprising elements fused within the music itself, and chords that feel like they are going somewhere – rather then laying the emphasis on a massive atmosphere – it is more compact and solidified. It is heavy on the ears but not antagonistic in any way, there’s a seriousness that isn’t fading out any time soon, an urgency to deliver a musical message or show the way, despite what you think of it in your own mind.

Had there been any vocals on this one, they’d be suitable for power-electronics and industrial, but more so the last genre. It is almost as if there will come something that reminds you that it could be power-electronics or noise music, but they discard that run-at-the-mill option and go heavily into other territories of unexplored synthesis. An eye-opener for anyone interested in those genres, as it is most often invested in what came before but not on what comes next, or what could be morphed into something in between all of that.

A Violet-Coloured Gas Told Him” is by far our least favorite song, it doesn’t swing the rope as high as the others and instead falls short. There is a short way to climb, but this is as if something was concocted in a laboratory, where the main focus wouldn’t be on establishing anything to bridge over from the gap the last song left, to the song after this one. Unfortunately it feels bland and uninspiring, though some moments of it leaves more to the listener in terms of experience.

Here’s where they jumped ship for the first time, there really isn’t anything that makes you feel anything. If that is the point – then they’ve succeeded – if not, then they’ve failed miserably, unfortunately. We’ve tried to listen to it multiple times, but it barely gets interesting on the end of it, but then we’re all deaf ears.

Good thing to be caught up in “They Seemed To Gallop Back Through Time“, as it saves the evening, literally. Despite being the last song on the vinyl, it proves to be a great outro as well as a song, heavily invested in intangible themes and a compromise between atmospheric electronica and the more industrially oriented side of Celephaïs. There are also some oriental vibes caught in between all of this, but as they fade out it begins to get more scarce with that. Then – all of a sudden – they jump back into it, more outdrawn and less stoic, more psychedelic and with a vengeance.

What do we think of this album all-in-all? It is probably one of the greatest debuts we’ve heard in these genres, and we’re interested in what will happen in the future for Celephaïs. They provide you with something different, even though you hear similarities with other artists and groups, but they don’t affect your judgement when listening to this. To get the ultimate experience, you definitely have to get the physical edition of it, the vinyl – from Ordo Viatorum. You can listen to some of the full tracks from this mix Jeroen made for SEER 334, down below.

 

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Exclusive Premiere: Knifesex – Living Flame

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Finally, Vanessa Irena of Knifesex – as she calls her solo-project – is getting a proper debut-release via 3t3rnal Records on the 17th of November. Repartiseraren have gotten the exclusive opportunity to premiere a full track from her album “Babalon“. According to herself the inspiration for this release have come through an appreciation of the occult, a dedication to the apocalyptic. The ritualistic nature of her music is expanded upon in this release, for those of you who’ve heard “Blood From Stone” from the first compilation on Repartiseraren will not be disappointed – it is more of the same and even furthers the experimental, but ambitious electronic sound.

There is no secret either that she draws these inspirations together within a feminist approach. The album consists of seven songs and we’re going to give you “Living Flame” to listen to, a week before the release-date. You will be able to purchase the album digitally through 3t3rnal Records on the 17th of November. Listen to the exclusive song down below.

Exclusive Premiere: Ele Ypsis – Diplotene

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With stunning aesthetic visuals provided by Svartaphotography, the ethereal vision of Ele Ypsis collapses and is built up within their latest album “Meiosis“. Musically it would not stand on its own with just the percussive IDM and breakbeat sounds, ambient it’d be a shell of what it could be – together with Laure Le Prunenec’s vocals – everything starts and ends in total disharmonious harmony. A double-edged metaphysical sword thrust deep within yourself. What a marvelous piece of music everything on this album is. One can not, however, underestimate Stélian Derenne’s craftiness when it comes to the musical composition, as the vocals benefit largely from that suspicious and ever changing atmosphere.

We’re glad to be premiering the best song on that release, which is: “Diplotene“, as it boils down into a common denominator in terms of how the album can be perceived, what elements are best fitted together with each other and how music really can stand out from the norm – in terms of ambition and overall quality. It is an outrageously great song and we were surprised by it ourselves, having listened to it over and over again.

In collaboration with M-Tronic Label, four days before the official release date – we’re proud to give you the ability to listen to “Diplotene” in full via our Soundcloud. Pre-order the vinyl release, here.

 

 

 

Showcase: The forthcoming Enfant Terrible-releases

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Over hundred releases have been shared to the world through Enfant Terrible. The sub-label Gooiland Elektro is almost up to a third of that number. What an exciting time to be alive, especially considering the quality of releases that has been put through both labels. Having garnered a notoriety of being a good label when it comes to experimental electronic music, people have started to notice their presence even more. We’re setting up a digital showcase of the releases that are coming out now in the beginning of October.

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LCN – Autonomie EP

LCN or the alterego for Le Chocolat Noir have been a guest on the 2016 compilation on Enfant Terrible, titled “Noblesse Oblige“, with the song “Appartenance“. The only other release is a collaboration with Zarkoff on the Iron Flute 12¨ released by Return To Disorder. His electronic music could be described as some really weirded out electronic body music, together with electro vibes that keep the notion of sanity intact. Claustrophobic minimalistic and repetitive, always on the edge musically and on par with other acts of the same caliber, maybe even in a corner of his own.

This will be his first multi-track release and EP, which is an exciting thing in of itself as this kind of music almost never make it through, unless you’re into it. For those who like the more experimental side of earlier electro, this release is something you should look into. A mixture of french and german can be heard within the lyrics of the songs. Everything is an eerie reminder of how sullen things can be.

It will be released on a limited edition 12¨ (of 200 copies) with screenprinted sleeves, as Enfant Terrible (ET052) and Gooiland Elektro (Gooiland 29).

Tracklist (with previews):

A1 N’Écoutez Pas Tous Les Conseils De Vos Amis
A2 Dans Mon Désordre

B1 Solitude
B2 En Retirant

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Savage Grounds – Area Of Violence

Switzerland duo Savage Grounds have laid their foundations with another label – with three releases on Lux Rec – now join up on Enfant Terrible for their latest EP. Their earlier sounds are not as refined as they are on this release, where it packs a momentum unheard of when it comes to electronic music. It is really heavy but at the same time catchy and melodic. According to the label itself, these musicians venture through and beyond their description of “post-techno” – what ever that is supposed to mean anyway. This is music that transcends those etiquettes but fit into them like a glove at the same time. It is rough, gritty and unrelenting.

Taking obvious steps into acid and industrial as well, alongside electronic body music, this seemingly instrumental take on those genres combined is well-matched. They outclass most of what you’re able to listen to when it comes to these genres post-glory days. At first a mesmerizing but gloomy appearance musically, quickly descending into utter hopelessness and then back again when hope shines eternal in the end. It’s one of those offshoots from this great label that make everything worth it, even if you can’t appreciate the level of experimentalism they work with.

It will be released on a limited edition 12¨ (of 250 copies) with screen-printed sleeves, as Enfant Terrible (ET053).

Tracklist (with previews):

A1 Concrete Tunnels
A2 The Role Of Iron

B1 Wall Of Rubber
B2 Negative Spaces

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Staatseinde – Neue Zyklus

The débutantes with the name of Staatseinde present their first EP, 6-track strong, with the same playfulness as ever but wrapped in a more serious and sinister tone. It brings back the more emotional side of electronic music as it is fine-tuned to our heart’s delight, relying on the more basal human needs musically as they churn out melodies upon melodies, with no strings attached emotionally but a hell of a lot invested when it comes to the listeners attentiveness.

If you thought the a-side wasn’t weirded out enough in terms of experimentalism, see the other side (b-side) for that almost pop-oriented edge and electro-pop vibe that brings out all the ghoulish tendencies of their sound. Yes, one can very well hear the influence of Welle:Erdball on some of these tracks, if they had a screw loose and were more pleasurable then their latest albums. Staatseinde’s earlier releases will remain the favorite for now but this release is worth checking out for the sole reason that it is Staatseinde.

It will be released on a limited edition 12¨ (of 250 copies) risograph printed sleeves, as Enfant Terrible (ET054).

Tracklist (with previews):

A1 Min Min
A2 Kosmos
A3 Darling

B1 Just Chaos
B2 Volar
B3 Yedo

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Garçon Taupe – The White Spider

This is a release I myself would get only because of the aesthetics of it. It has a wonderful schismatic feeling to it, the contrasts of it are also wonderfully pleasant in a gruesome kind of existential manner – perfect for Autumn and the coming winter. Garçon Taupe is new for us here at Repartiseraren but nevertheless as it is an Enfant Terrible and Gooiland Elektro release, we’re sure we’ll be somewhat in awe. It is a completely dutch affair it seems, having only had some of their tracks released, by the label Narrominded.

It is a very quirky sound. You either love it or hate it, think it is enigmatic or simply an annoyance. One can’t deny that their sound is somewhat unique in a way. For the acid-lovers the b-side will be a huge surprise and it slowly grows on you, as the beats pace along fast enough for ones limbs to awkwardly match themselves to the rhythm. The last song on this record holds an especially groovy beat which is poisonous to say the least.

As a joint operation between Enfant Terrible and Gooiland Elektro, this release will be on limited edition 12¨ (of 200 copies) with screen-printed sleeves, going under Enfant Terrible (ET055) and Gooiland Elektro (Gooiland 30).

Tracklist (with previews):

A1 The White Spider
A2 Roll The Dice

B1 Crevasse
B2 Retreat

Excusive Premiere: Michael Idehall – Dream Circuitry

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Michael Idehall have been featured here countless times, but he never ceases to improve in regards to his industrial music (seancetronica) – now releasing his eighth album, if you only count full, solo releases. His work spans from the occult and back into electronic music, beyond any comprehension at times and sometimes in the realm of fathomable. With this album on the German label Raubbau, titled “Machine Spirit Transmission” – he widens his approach exponentially, including more beat-oriented sounds in terms of a general theme musically.

Aesthetically it features a new emblazoned symbol which we don’t know the inherent meaning about, but for those eager to know about the symbolism of Michael Idehall (the project), you should venture through his gates and into The Hermetic Library. Without knowing all to much, Aleister Crowley seems to be an influence in terms of the occult and esoteric nature in which music like this is created.

We’re pleased to announce to you that we’ve teamed up with Raubbau to bring you a full track from the forthcoming album. “Dream Circuitry” is the middle-point in which this album is construed, or at least that’s how we feel about it. Tune in and remember to buy the physical tape from the Raubbau distributer ant-zen, or simply order the digital release from Raubbau if you prefer it that way. The release date for it is on the 25th of October.

 

Exclusive Premiere: Interactive – The Bass Is On Fire

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Surrealistic techno, ambivalent new beat music and a large chunk of industrial is what could best describe Interactive. The 90’s duo have a plethora of singles and EPs to choose from, but only three albums in total – two of which were more of compilations then a proper album anyway. So it is with pleasure that we’ve dug in and taken out “The Bass Is On Fire” for exclusive premiere here on Repartiseraren, in collaboration with Mecanica Records. This is a re-issue that also contains something new – a remix by Ancient Methods of the title-track “The Techno Wave“.

What we like about the one we’re premiering, from the b-side, is the roughness and unrelenting experimental sound which they’ve produced. It is more industrial then it is new beat but still in the latter genre – which makes it a whole lot more interesting then contemporary music in the same style. So we present to you this song and hope you’ll enjoy listening to it. Some may even venture to say that it is techno as well – which is true in a sense – as it stems from the Frankfurt Tekkno scene.

If you like the music, order the 12¨ vinyl (or digital release, or both) from Mecanica Records. You can listen to the exclusive premiere down below.

Review: TSTI – Endings

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Some time ago TSTI had his third album released, or second if you don’t count “Evaluated: An Album Of Remixes“. German-based Basic Unit Productions have gotten the pleasure to release “Endings” – which is the apt title of the release. Other Voices Records have also gotten their share of it and have released a limited edition cassette of it. We’ve had the possibility of listening to a few of the demos before this was released and they sounded promising, as does his whole discography. The aesthetics of the release are industrial and very cut and paste, not really anything we enjoy at all, and the first album “Evaluations” looked more alluring visually.

The album clocks in at around thirty-six minutes in total. So let’s get into what this album has to offer in its entirety, by doing a track-by-track review of it.

Things I Would Do” is a special kind of song when it comes to the atmosphere, right from the start there is an inviting kind of mystic vibe over it but at the same time an assertive industrial sound to it. We’re not really fans of the processed vocals at all but the lyrics in this song are simple but add a catchy melodious tone to an – at first – deserted landscape. The favorite part comes forth in the build-up until the chorus and the chorus itself, as they both pack a melodious punch which is remindable and emotional. It lurks in the background and comes out in full bloom together with the drum beats and snaredrum, which later on forms a stunning introductory to a hopefully, equally as great album.

We’ve been fortunate enough to hear the craftsman, S. Smith, create this marvelous tune step-by-step until it finally was released on Basic Unit Productions. Even though the fondness of the demo-version of this song have caught on, his stamp throughout it makes for a more bombastic and impactful experience.

Naïveté (feat. Jennifer Touch)” is a lot more pop-influenced then the first one, but he stays true to himself and his sound, which allows for a heavier side to take place amongst the cheesier vibes of the flute and the melody itself. It is not necessarily the build-up and climax of the song which is interesting, but rather the dissective nature of the downbeat melodies that are produced in between – giving it a whole atmosphere instead of a half one. We don’t think “Jennifer Touch” adds anything that gives this song momentum, or a different characteristic, which is probably not what was meant – but as a collaborative effort it is stale. The instruments and rhythm are more interesting here then the synthesizers for the most part, as they are more complex and add more to the song overall.

The slower nature of “Sincerity” allows S. Smith to build up a better atmosphere then in any of the other songs, this one crushes totally in terms of the synthesizers vibrancy and the emotional delivery of his vocals. It is almost like an anthemic ballad in of itself and layer upon layer of instrumentation cut right through and form the shape of a transgression between straight-forward synth-pop and ambient music. A very nice addition which sprawls from his old sound and new, to connect and make something greater then all of that. Too bad that he underestimates this kind of touch with his other songs, whom are more industrial in nature, but not in the crafty kind of way – because they build upon a foundation of synth-pop – instead of a transgressiveness between severeal genres.

It is a dreamy song and we drear the end of it, which comes at a too fast pace unfortunately. Even though it is the slowest song yet, but at the time it is allowed to brood and deliver chord upon chord of nicely laden synthesized beauty – is precisely the reason why one ought to check out TSTI in his new form.

Forgive Me” catch elements of the previous song and have also been featured on Repartiseraren’s own compilation “Whoever Am I”, long before release. It is noticeable how Sid’s (from Schwefelgelb) mastering have affected the song, because it is somewhat different from Zarkoff (who mixed the re-mastered compilation) – so it is very intriguing to hear how different characteristics, in terms of mastering – can be heard in the end product. Since we have a special bond to this song in terms of nostalgia itself, it is hard to not have a personal connection to the song itself, but it lacks in momentum although it is picked together quite good through the atmosphere of the song itself. There is never a dull moment and around the corner there’s a whole different interpretation in itself.

The song has very different characteristics throughout, which is what ultimately makes it different as well as fitting at the same time. Everything runs like clockwork and the time never stops until S. Smith cares to do it himself, by ending on a high note. It’s a very classy song in terms of tone and clarity, where the repetetive lyrics play an integral role to it moving forward at all.

Strange Times” really catches one off-guard. Damn, the first melody is a work of art in itself and from there and on you can’t turn the song off. Had S.U.R.V.I.V.E moved in a different way and taken the help of S. Smith – this is how it would sound like. There’s a certain niceness about the mysticism in the song itself, the sweet touches of synthesizers and not-too-industrial beats make this outstanding synth-pop music. By now, had it been some other album, it probably would’ve dulled off by now. Here’s the part where musicians fall short, oftentimes, if they have an album that goes on for as many songs as “Endings” does. The samples that can also be heard but in another form, on “Naïveté (feat. Jennifer Touch)” take a step into informing the listener – rather then shake the world together with beats.

It is good to hear how the first melody is expanded in the end and clangs out like it should’ve. Not that we’ve heard this song before, but because it is just what is supposed to happen – it is the destiny of this song.

To Visit You Again” is metaphorically speaking the most emotional song so far. Both in message and sound. The longing, the outdrawn beats that scrape against the soundscape and the desperation in the atmosphere that lunge towards you in an instant. It draws upon mutated choirs that between added effects and from high to low notes, add a nicely angelic touch to an otherwise doom and gloom song. It is also the only instrumental song on the whole album. Which is a pleasure to listen through. The repetetiveness of it doesn’t bother at all because it is inventive and make use of the different small touches added to the whole totality of sound. When “Flatter Me” comes on, it is obvious that it is a direct continuation of the aforementioned instrumental song. They share many of the same ambitions in being emotionally touching and direct, together with impervious melodies that never stagnate.

Here though, the melodies are taken into a different direction which both touch upon these elements and create a whole other atmosphere – the intangible nature of TSTI’s sound is one of his strengths. All of a sudden everything is downhill and from there it goes uphill, the emotions come crashing down and the beats develop intensity as they shift from rhythm to rhythm. Very flattering of him to do so.

R.A.S.” never hits home but at the same time does. It is a song filled with paradoxical sound production, with melodies that sound oriental at times and the complete opposite. There’s a shyness and awkwardness about it as a whole, as if he doesn’t want it to bloom out completely – as he holds it even closer. He shapes and unshape things, from rhythms that don’t really make sense to beats that almost put the synthesizer’s wonderful soundscaping out of play. Maybe it is the complete destruction of everything, the ending as it is, even though this certainly isn’t his last contribution in terms of sound as TSTI.

Unfortunately, the remixes of “Things I Would Do“, by Hante and Ssleeping desiresS don’t do the original justice. It is much better and their versions of it aren’t up to par with it, and it doesn’t even create anything tangible from the perspective of making a new version, or something that could possibly stand out in any way, in terms of musicianship.

The album as a whole is a decent thing to listen to. It might even be better then that, though some things are hit and miss – but when it comes down to it, TSTI hones his old sound and develops something new – not necessarily breaking everything down and making the outcome dull and boring. Listen to it in whole down below.