Creating An Empty Atmosphere
S/W is a strange album to say the least. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but with this project, Second Woman have created something that makes the listener question the group’s intentions. The duo is made up of Turk Dietrich and Joshua Eustis, both of whom have been a part of other projects in the past. S/W is full of atmospheric tracks, most of them missing any of the typical hallmarks of dance or techno. It sounds like the background noise to a sci-fi thriller, but there’s no story or action to digest here. These tracks definitely took time and effort to make and they’re intricacies are well-placed in context. However, this album is a difficult listen at times, especially when its songs stretch on for long periods of time. It is monotonous at best and abrasively strange at its worst.
One of Second Woman’s stated goals has been to induce the happy feeling of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. ASMR is a pleasant sensation characterized by tingling on the skin that can be induced by certain sounds. That goal is all well and good, but it still doesn’t add any closure or cohesiveness to Second Woman’s new album. S/W‘S mismatched rhythms and half melodies just serve to disorient the listener while giving them the tiniest bits of intrigue. The song “///” is a perfect example of this. You can appreciate the production it must have taken to create the track, but it can be hard to listen to with its abrasive screeching and erratic drum beats. Another one of the strange choices on this album is Second Woman’s decision to just name every track its number, from one to nine in slashes.
Some tracks on the album showcase a little bit of hope, such as “////\\” and “////\\\”. These particular numbers meld spine-tingling sounds with beats that are highly structured and steady. However, in both cases, they only serve to keep the listener intrigued for a moment. “////\\” becomes more monotonous the further it carries on and “////\\\” segues from an interesting opening beat into a dull and spacey finish that just fizzles away. If only Second Woman were able to channel their interesting ideas and sound choices into songs that had more structure or liveliness in them. The duo definitely have crafted a distinct and interesting musical aesthetic on their new album, but sometimes it strays towards monotony when the group’s ideas don’t work effectively. Hopefully, in the future, Second Woman will direct their talents towards something more cohesive and exciting for the listener.