Kenneth James Gibson, the man behind [a]pendics.shuffle, has released a new, groundbreaking LP that is all at once complex, unsettling and entirely beguiling. [a]pendics.shuffle is only one of Gibson’s many musical aliases; he’s also the creative mind behind Reverse Commuter, Bell Gardens, dubLoner and more, so it should come as no surprise that this album isn’t one to miss. Though it is not without its flaws, Aware Sequence Found Life is a truly interesting listen in a musical landscape where not much is.
Aware Sequence Found Life was released on July 8 under Gibson’s label, Adjunct Audio. The album is a grab bag of influences – from deep house to ambient sounds, there is something for everyone in almost every track. [a]pendics.shuffle cannot be pinned down. His music can be reminiscent of early Aphex Twin, but then he’ll use a beat that wouldn’t be out of place in a Hot Sugar or SOPHIE track. It’s ridiculous, but exciting. Aware Sequence Found Life has nine solid tracks that are almost standalone pieces. It is a challenge (but an enjoyable one) to find the commonalities between each song. Once found, however, it is hard to imagine them being on any other album, let alone in any other order.
The album begins with the haunting (and aptly named) “Dark Outlines.” The track is atmospheric with a looming, robotic voice droning on about a great many things…like the fabric of reality! Thankfully it ends before a full existential crisis can set in. However it is a great intro to an LP that refuses to be defined by any one thing. “Sunburned Tears,” the next track, begins with a musical landscape and layered vocals that remind the listener vaguely of 16th century monks. This track, unlike “Dark Outlines,” has a something of a house beat. The song is fun, yeah, but it’s still got a spooky, old horror movie feel.
Gibson unleashes his innovative mind in the next few tracks – “Being You” gives the listener the experience of being a yo-yo, or even a slinky toy. The beat, vocal samples and effects make for a song that might give you whiplash. In “Touching Space,” Kelly Johnston is a welcome addition and her contributions to the track feel simply right. “Building Ships” is epic, “Cosmic Translations” is like a burlesque club and the International Space Station had a child and “Pass Through” is a fitting conclusion.
Frankly, Aware Sequence Found Life is a great listen. Some of the dialogue might feel unnaturally pretentious and “Nowhere’s Somewhere,” (the sixth song on the album) felt unnecessary, but it’s still very good art. The beats are great, the samples appropriate and used well, and the music is compelling for the most part.