Industrial techno with a twist
American techno producer Silent Servant has been around since the late ’90s, crafting post-punk/industrial tinged techno. His new album Shadows of Death and Desire is fuzzy, frantic and tense, creating a bleak world around metallic synths and percussive momentum.
The intro track “Illusion” sets the tone with short but threatening synth sequences and interesting atmospheric textures. Even for a techno track, there is little in the way of progression or new ideas here. “Harm in Hand” is like a bad dream, the short menacing sequences and industrial percussion are layered with inaudible monotone vocals. It’s an interesting idea to use vocals as atmosphere by mixing them in a way that makes them inaudible yet still present as an instrument. The effect is awkward but at least unique.
“Damage” is glitchy and fun, mechanical driving percussion bang around dark ambient synths. The song has enough movement to justify its length and feels more complete than anything before it. “Lost Response” is softer and more ethereal. The dark tone is there, but the drums are less mechanical and the synths are stripped back. “24 Hours” builds off “Lost Response”‘s ambient mysteriousness but reintroduces scary dissonant synth sequences and throbbing hi hat stutters. The mix is muddy and lo-fi, and while this makes the drums sound slightly flat, the lo-fi deep space vibe is still interesting.
“Glass Veil” is in the same vein as the others, but the mix is great and the laser noises are sweet. “Optimistic Decay” is an emotional ambient techno track with effected out vocals and moving synth strings. This track is probably the most accessible and essential track on the album and ends off the short album in a more positive place.
Silent Servant brings a largely unique aesthetic to the table, and often offers non-cliché elements that bring intrigue to the techno formula. His strange use of vocals and ambience coupled with monotonous beeps and clicks creates a spacey tense feeling and definitely takes you into a new world.