You sit in a pitch black room. You hear the faint sound of moving feet, but you aren’t sure how many people surround you. Gradually, the scuffling of shoes dissipates into silence, and the darkness feels endless for a long while. Spotlights hit the space a short distance from your seat, and you see that you’re within a circular room. Everyone faces the illuminated center, where a man is curled up on a red carpet in the fetal position. He unfurls and starts to sing.
Transparency is an essential ingredient in music, and the distinct lack of it is a big reason why many over-composed “pop” singles lack the depth to become long-lasting gems. Transparency grants a living element to recorded sound. Age Of Transparency is the newest full-length from singer Arthur Ashin, AKA Autre Ne Veut. With this record, Ashin presents an opus dedicated to pushing past the limits of living life out in the open.
There isn’t any other voice quite like Ashin’s, with his soulful outbursts and cascading ad-lib melodies; one could almost compare it to the improvised feel of free jazz. His singing dances in abstract shapes around the polished instrumental concoctions of r&b-tinged electronics and classical symphonic sampling, courtesy of Joel Ford and Young Ejecta. The exceptional mixture results in some gorgeous moments of frantic pop perfection.
This record is the soundtrack to an individual bearing his soul, unedited and unfiltered, for all to witness. It’s rare to find an artist willing to share this much with an audience, and it’s honestly jarring to experience initially because of the intensely authentic performances. However, once one is familiar with Ashin’s persona, one is hooked and there’s no going back. If you’re seeking soulful, idiosyncratic pop, this album is for you.
– stasi (@stasisphere)