By: Kyle Rutherford
People have been saying it for the last few years and it continues to ring true. Electronic artists are getting a bit too comfortable with themselves in the music they create. The ones that are out there constantly creating something unique and not adhering to popularity standards or even themselves are the ones changing the game.
Though Fractal’s music would never be considered experimental, per se, his quest to create a strong variety within the mainstream EDM world keeps him within the ranks of other forward-thinking producers. His full length Gaia is a robust collection of tunes that range from heavy bass bangers, ambient chill tracks and sonic soundscape driven music. This is what Monstercat is all about.
The album begins with Braden Wiggins' melodic dubstep side. “Amor” and “Collide” both have heavy influence on well-produced, heavy bass patches and combined with female vocal parts, with the latter complementing bass sounds with higher pitched, trancey synths.
“Omni” and “Fire Away” follow with some more uptempo vibes. The former has strong complextro influences combined with occasional disco instrumentals, while the latter has a spacey breakbeat trance sound. “Omni’s” half time section works very well, due to the complextro sounds giving the song some erratic synth sounds.
“Escape” is the first glimpse we get of Fractal’s softer side. The song’s vibe makes you want to hear it at a festival’s late night dance tent rather than blasted from the main stage. While the song is more downtempo and ambient, the background guitar sounds mixed with the percussion and bass groove sounds like the outcome of Gramatik and Seven Lions coming together to create a spacey, trippy atmosphere.
Both “Voyage” and “Sanctum” are similar in that both are lightly produced tracks, but with more uptempo percussion. “Voyage’s” percussion is very quiet, but has the structure of a drum n’ bass tune. The acoustic guitars and delicate soundscapes fit perfectly with the percussion. “Sanctum” keeps it more midtempo, with chimes and strings fused with female vocals and special vocals, giving the track a strong Middle Eastern vibe.
“Skyline” is another beautiful, downtempo piece. The instrumental sounds don’t even sound electronically produced, making it sound like it could be performed by a live band. Sections could even be compared to the sound of Pink Floyd’s “Breathe.”
With Fractal's command of the scope and dynamism of vocalists, we get the sense that he'd have no problem crossing over into the pop realm to show those tired old producers a little of what's what.
And remember, if you want to see Fractal live and in the flesh, come to The Untz Festival, taking place June 2-4, 2016 at Mariposa County Fairgrounds in Mariposa, CA!
Key Tracks: “Omni,” “Escape,” “Skyline”
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