- Introspective moods on the techno luminary's second LP.
- Electric Indigo (AKA Susanne Kirchmayr) is hitting her stride with albums. Her first one, 2018's 5 1 1 5 9 3, came out 25 years after her music first appeared on a split EP with DJ Hell. Her second follows by only two years. Ferrum is cut from the same cloth as its predecessor, made up of recordings of metallic objects she digitally edited into shifting ambient textures and introspective techno rhythms. It comes off serious and artistic, and at the same time understated and somehow impenetrable.
Ferrum creates a mood—calm, profound, reflective and cinematic—more than it reveals or evokes emotion. It'd work well as a film or video game score, or a live audio-visual performance at a festival like Unsound or Atonal. It evolves patiently both across the eight tracks and within them. The first two are stitched together into a single song, lulling the listener into Kirchmayr's vibe with glitchy, tingling bells and pads that coalesce from the tails of reverb. Often, percussive sounds double as melodic ones and vice versa, like the percussive metal sound that forms a pattern and creates a kind of melody on "Ferrum 7."
When it comes to directing the listener's attention, Kirchmayr opts for soft sells more often than flashy moves. Motifs develop slowly, trickle away and fade back in in a way that creates a sense of progression and trippy déjà vu. On "Ferrum 3" it's a high, sustained note that shifts down and collides with a pitch-bending metallic hit that acts almost as a chorus.
The tracks with kick drums—"4," "5" and "7"—naturally stand out from the ambient stretches because the change to rhythm is sudden and noticeable. All three are deep and dark in an ocean-floor kind of a way. "Ferrum 5" works mostly with a sub that sounds like it's bubbling up from below the punchy, jabbering kick. "Ferrum 7" achieves a grooviness that Kirchmayr didn't attempt on the flat-footed plod of "Ferrum 4," or the dull pummel on "Ferrum 5." "Ferrum 7," on the other hand, is a wonky ~140 BPM stepper that makes loopy melodic patterns from delicate, pretty bells or the interplay between rhythmic elements like white noise blasts and crunches. It demonstrates one of Kirchmayr's strengths: using a creative and contemplative approach to treating sounds in unconventional ways.
01. ferrum 1_2
02. ferrum 3 [digital version]
03. ferrum 4
04. ferrum 5
05. ferrum 6
06. ferrum 7
07. ferrum 8