Mar 2020 12

Album CoverMeat Beat Manifesto
Album Opaque Couché
Category: IDM
Label: Self-released
Release Date: 2019-05-10


After over 30 years and 11 album releases, iconic British IDM act Meat Beat Manifesto released Opaque Couché. If anything, it’s safe to call this album a flex from the creative, and quite bizarre mind of Jack Danger. The album opens feeling like a purer, more refined amalgamation of the project as a whole and not so much a progression of sound. The first track, perfectly titled “Untroduction” is off the bat an uncomfortable horror show of frequency play and sound samples of metronomic, filtered voices. It blends well, however, into a track called “Pin-Drop,” which is a more of a familiar MBM drum & bass focused song featuring remixed reggae samples and Theremin-like pitches weaving between the beats. Opaque Couché as a whole is definitely minimalist, even for IDM, but in a way that it seems to build upon itself in smaller, textured layers. In tracks like the aforementioned “Pin Drop” and the following “[Ear-Lips],” the bass is more meandering and almost pitchy with compressed clips of, again, very filtered vocals used as percussion. Deeper into the track list, “Agelast” and “Hailing Frequencies Open” are even more minimal if not droning at certain parts. But Danger has always had a propensity to play with pockets of silence and compressed sound, and while this album is in no way a departure from his signature work, Opaque Couché may be less digestible to the casual listener. Getting deeper into the album, there’s a definite mood shift with “Bolinas” that introduces more ethereal atmospheric elements that begin to coalesce into a fuller, plusher sounds. But after that, it’s like whiplash and back to the classic, minimal drum & bass of “Call Sign.” There’s a sort of back-and-forth throughout Opaque Couché that feels like an oscillation between the punchier, hollow experimental flavors of IDM and the fuller, fleshier sounds of early trip-hop. A track called “Critical Soul Vibrations” stole the show in terms of character – it’s one of the more conservative tracks in terms of fullness and frequency, but it has the most energy. On the whole, the album fits excellently into Meat Beat Manifesto’s widespread discography and does well to showcase Dangers’ talent with frequency manipulation. The album is sure to be well received among diehard and experienced IDM fans. That said, Opaque Couché would be a horrible introductory album for new listeners as it almost has this “music for musicians” feel to it.
Track list:

  1. Untroduction
  2. Pin Drop
  3. [Ear-Lips]
  4. Agelast
  5. Hailing Frequencies Open
  6. Bolinas
  7. Call Sign
  8. Moving Pulse
  9. No Design
  10. C/2015 V2
  11. CarrierFreq
  12. Forced to Lie
  13. Break Test
  14. Present For Sally
  15. Critical Soul Vibrations
  16. Wandering Soul # 11

Meat Beat Manifesto
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Raquel Benson (Rocki)

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