808 Dot Pop is a new side project of Passenger S of Metroland, his levels of creativity are truly astounding, hence the reason for starting this latest venture, I should also add, this in no way signals the end of Metroland, as a new album is being worked on.
With this project Passenger S, wanted to create a more accessable, lighter, "pop" sound, and as you would expect, the album is concept driven, and is all about colour temperature, in short it revolves around the dynamics of electric bulbs and the various different colours emitted due to temperature.
The opening track "Planck's H" is about the scientist Max Planck, who devised that Blackbody radiation is radiation produced by heated objects, particularly from a blackbody. A blackbody is an object that absorbs all radiation (visible light, infrared light, ultraviolet light, etc.) that falls on it. This also means that it will also radiate at all frequencies that heat energy produces in it.
Enough of the science lesson and back to the music, the track is the darkest sounding track on the album with it's menacing pulsing synth sounds and a beautifully constructed sequencer pattern, which takes centre stage as the track develops overlaid with warm pads. Excellent use of voice samples to inform the listener what the track is about. A perfect opener.
Track 2 "Illuminants", definately has a lighter flavour, soft rhythms and the King Of Sequencers, is on top form here, different layers of sequenced sounds hold this track together, nice lead and melodic parts, quite upbeat as well, I like his use of voice samples again.
"Radiation Laws" is another science lesson for you (check the web), I have said many times about the music Passenger S makes, it is always an educational journey too, you want to find out more about the concepts used and this album is no exception.
Another bright uptempo track with a lot of melodic hooks, fantastic rhythm section and of course the sequencers are in overdrive, nice use of choir sounds, a strong electro pop track.
Next we delve into the mechanics of a light bulb, "The Tungsten Filament" (the bit that lights up inside the bulb). Another sequencer driven track, some really exquisite sequenced parts created here, really give this song a "pop" feel, the track builds up superbly and holds your attention, fantastic use of vocals and without a doubt this is one of my favourite tracks.
Next we come to the track "Blackbodies (Radiation)", which feature the superb vocals of Noemi Aurora of Helalyn Flowers, and of course is the first single released by 808 Dot Pop, and it is easy to see why it was chosen as the first single, it has everything, strong melodies, memorable chorus and exceptional synth work, this is one of those songs you listen to that grabs your attention everytime you play it. Outstanding all round.
Next we have the dreamy "Kelvin (2700)", it is simplistic, no rhythm, with what I would call etheral floating melodies, it is clearly a song Passenger S likes, as various versions have been recorded including recent B sides and I share his passion for the track, it is a really nice interlude segment, although other versions are more of a complete song.
"Thermal Contact" is instantly likeable with it's strong bassline and dance beat, good use of percussion elements/noises, in some ways it reminded me of early John Foxx, it's upbeat and powerful and the sequencers are just fantastic, catchy and inventive, another track I really like and one of the strongest on the album.
"The White Tone Of Lamps" is introduced with voice samples telling you what the song is about, the best use of vocal samples on the album, a moodier synth driven track, I am a sucker for those Kraftwerk inspired zap sounds, a really well constructed track.
"Ultraviolet" has a strong Kraftwerk influence on it, especially the rhythmic aspects of the song, and the master of sequencer patterns delights us again, with his array of sequenced treats, how he gets so many sequenced melody lines to overlay and work amazes me, I would be happy to come up with one sequenced line in a song!
This is another upbeat track and its strength is the depth of the music all perfectly layered.
Now we come to a track that fans are going to adore, "Incandescent", and I will stick my neck out and say this is one of the best tracks Passenger S has ever written. It is infectious beyond belief with one of the best synth riffs I have ever heard, it gets into your head and stays there, an ensemble of brilliantly fused synths and sequencers, this track has everything, pure pop and a diamond in this collection of gems, on the album.
"Thermodynamica" is another well constructed Electo pop track, has darker overtones, with sprinklings of sequencers over the top, as you would expect the backdrop is punctuated by simplistic synth melodies, once again great use of vocal samples.
The album closes with "Inside The Light Bulb", the bassline sequencer is fabulous, drives the song with an equally impressive rhythm. Beautiful warm synth sounds and sequencers, I like the haunting way the vocal samples are delivered and the choirs are divine.
I have followed the work of Passenger S with true passion for 8 years now and can only marvel, at what he can do with a concept, he can constantly deliver outstanding work, for me there is no one to match what he does with a concept, and it must be said, the concept is an essential cog in the music process.
I have learned about subjects I knew nothing about when emersing myself into his music, it drives you to find out more about the concepts used, he truly is unique and and gifted.
This album has been incredibly special and personal for me, as I have been privileged to see it develop from early demo's, to the finished product and can appreciate the work that has gone into the whole concept and album, it has also given me the fantastic opportunity to be involved again in making promo video's for this project, something I have really enjoyed.
Be in no doubt this is a first class debut album, that existing fans of Metroland and electronic music will enjoy, it delivers from start to finish.
The album is released on CD and as a Digital Downkload on June 5th.
The CD version is available from Alfa matrix here:
The Digital Download, which includes a bonus 20 minute mega-mix is available from Bandcamp here:
I can also recommend you snap up the limited edition "Blackbodies" 7 Inch Vinyl single, which is available from the official 808 Dot Pop website here:
You can view the official promo video for the single "Blackbodies (Pulsation)" on YouTube here:
Also released recently, is a 5 track Digital Download "Blackbodies (Radiation) EP", which features 2 new tracks "RGB" (two versions) and "Gamma Rays" (again two versions, including my KRAFTman Remix), that is available from Bandcamp here:
Visit the 808 Dot Pop Website here:
Visit 808 Dot Pop on Facebook here:
The day before the album is released, White Lion radio, will be releasing a special "Introduction to 808 Dot Pop" audio documentary, that will be available on June 4th.