One of the masterminds behind the hugely successful futurepop act Mind.in.a.Box alone embarks on a journey of self discovery. For Austrian musician Stefan Poiss, The Way Home is, supposedly, a means of recapturing the sound once unearthed and now lost. However, long time fans should not worry as THYX is less experimental than it is a variation on the familiar patterns. The songs’ flow, like on Poiss’ previous albums, is determined by a fusion of drowsy vocals and soft synths, both of them instantaneously recognizable as staples of Mind.in.a.Box’s style perfected on this year’s Revelations. THYX might not surprise you but it has capacity to continuously mesmerize.
The Way Home doesn’t follow the exact same schema that the narrative based content of albums by Mind.in.a.Box does; the tracks are not connected by an overarching plot. Freed from the constraints of such an agenda, through THYX Stefan Poiss is allowed to pursue several different goals. Effectively, his first album under this new brand name is to a satisfying result, varied and diverse even if always bound by one and the same affection for pop and electronica. “Spoil,” which opens the album, consists of the most obvious link between The Way Home and what Poiss crafted before it if only because distinctively manipulated vocals and carefully assembled, multiple layers of melodies appear to be so very familiar. “Spoil” doesn’t strive for the same dramatic effect that following “My Own Little World” does, but it is its ambient based core where the considerate tempo and subtly escalating beat are perfectly blended together – it’s a track that will never clearly belong on a dance floor but nevertheless induces a fair share of physical reaction. THYX’s debut never openly proceeds against its chill-out quality that renders it so inoffensively appealing and accessible. The album’s stylistic highpoint lies somewhere at the crossroads of the trajectories set by Mind.in.a.Box’s Revelations and the 2010 R.E.T.R.O. release. Songs like “Underdive” or “My Own Little World” perfectly showcase both the catchy glitch of futurepop and strong vocal work that grounds The Way Home as a collection of songs that are finite wholes ready to be enjoyed at ones whim.
Thankfully, THYX doesn’t follow its mellow stylization to the letter and breaks the pattern with tracks like “Awesome” that pack rich arrangements of intertwined words and beats that collide time and again in order to produce a dense and heavy track, but one set around a decidedly simple chorus. “Snow in July” has perhaps the most intense and bravura vocal work yet delivered by Poiss. As he strives for feminine-like highs in the song’s chorus, it becomes not only apparent but undeniable that he successfully mastered the formula that turns a stomping electronic rhythm into tear-jerking pop hit.
THYX fails to properly validate its existence outside of the structured entity that is Mind.in.a.Box not because of the difference in the quality of the material but because that, generally speaking, there is very little difference at all between the two of Poiss’ projects. While both The Way Home and Revelations can be distinguished and defined based on their individual qualities, they share the same backbone, the same afflicting sensibility in the way that music and vocals delicately penetrate your consciousness. Even if THYX doesn’t come to dominate Stefan Poiss’ musical output, it just established itself, effortlessly and confidently, as a valid and thoroughly enjoyable outlet for his continuing search for (as he himself put it) “a coincidental anomaly in sound.” Judging by the consistent high quality of his work, it seems that the longer he takes, the more beneficial his audience will be.
THYX Website http://www.thyxmusic.com
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Damian Glowinkowski (DamienG)