Drew Daniels of Matmos has released a third cover album under his The Soft Pink Truth project. Am I Free To Go includes covers of Disclose, Aus-Rotten, Totalitär, Doom, Skitsystem, Nausea, Gloom and Discharge. The release comes shortly after Daniel’s Shall We Go On Sinning So That Grace May Increase?, which has been featured under Pitchfork’s Best New Music and given a rating of 8.5.
Am I Free To Go? is filled with covers of anti-fascist punk songs, with Daniels taking an rave-inspired twist to each track and including messages against Trump and Amazon, along with pointing out the climate apocalypse and current pandemic. Daniel’s intersperses each song with soundbites from the news and Trump, pointing out various social issues as tracks bleed into the next.
“Am I Free To Go? was written as an expression of rage and despair at the ongoing political misery of our present capitalist life-world,” Daniels said in a press statement. “Whether they are from Sweden or Japan or the UK or the USA, I find these songs and the artists that sang them inspiring: they are direct, angry and demanding. I don’t cover them out of mockery or satire. I love these songs and I wanted to play them and play with them. It’s as simple as that. I have three cover albums now: Do You want New Wave or Do You Want the Soft Pink Truth?, Why Do the Heathen Rage? And now Am I Free To Go? They are intended to be a trio of queer takeovers of music that I love from often all too ‘macho’ subcultures, a cocktail of musical affection and social alienation.”
Daniels created Am I Free To Go? Alongside Shall We Go On Sinning So That Grace May Increase?. The two albums have been made as a reflection of the other, Am I Free To Go? meant to be a prequel to Shall We Go On Sinning So That Grace May Increase.
“That is why this record ends with Angel Deradoorian’s voice stacked into a choral arrangement,” Daniels said in a press statement. “The end of ‘Protest and Survive’ is designed to be the onramp to the other album which is its complement and opposite. Other worlds are possible, but we have to start by taking the measure of the world we are in.”
Am I Free To Go? shows Daniel’s creating his own unique style of electronic music, pulling inspiration from various subgenres to create his own form. He includes simple electronic drums amid soundbites of songs and newscasts, while cascading chimes are layered underneath everything.
The album begins with a cover of Disclose’s “Hellish View.” Daniels starts with drums which are similar to Hardstyle, but slightly slower. A hum grows louder as the song falls into the original track’s lyrics, a scratching voice growling amid sounds of static.
Daniels turns Aus Rotten’s “Fuck Nazi Sympathy” into drum and bass, while Aus Rotten’s original lyrics and sound are included. Daniels includes a lone soundbite of Trump in the track, mixing various clips to highlight the contradiction of his messages.
Totalitär’s “Multinationella Mördare” is given a more futuristic take, horns flowing in and out of the track. Daniel’s includes a sample of house, and discusses how Amazon has been taking advantage of its workers over some drum and bass. He mixes sounds from various electronic subgenres in the same track, with hints of trap, house and drum and bass.
Doom’s “Police Bastard” returns to some drum and bass, but does not delve into it completely. The song’s vocals hauntingly rumble below, creating an unsettling feeling as police sirens rise in volume. Protests begin to be heard, the synthetic sound echoing under cries chanting “abolish police!”
Skitysytem’s “Prfithysteri” gives drum and bass amid electronic synths, the lyrics mashing in an eclectic sound. It creates a fighting sound, the drum and bass fading in and out through the duration of the track.
Crude SS’s “Respect the Earth” begins slower than the rest of the tracks, crickets and sounds of the outdoors heard. Daniels repeats the theme of his album, where he tries to have the sounds of his songs reflect the lyrics and soundbites being spoken. He makes is sound be a reflection of buzzing flies and bees, pulling inspiration from the Earth.
Nausea’s “Cybergod” begins with a vocal sample of two men discussing New York and Trump Tower. Soon, the angry introduction of “Cybergod” is introduced, contrasting the men speaking and foreshadowing a fear of Trump. Daniels then includes disco samples, turning “Cybergod” into a track reflective of the roots of House music. The song’s samples repeatedly reflect newscasts and soundbites of the economy and atrocities seen throughout the planet, Daniels expressing his beliefs on capitalistic economies.
Gloom’s “Death Earth” begins with trippy vocal samples before delving into a classic punk rock sound. Daniels keeps close to Gloom’s original, his electronic synths reflecting punk rock moreso than any of the album’s other tracks.
“Space Formerly Occupied by An Amebix Cover But Fuck That Guy for Being a Holocaust Denier” has Daniels explaining how he was originally going to cover a track by Amebix. He was dissuaded from doing so after learning they were holocaust deniers, but wanted to include the message in his album.
Discharge’s “Protest and Survive” mixes drums and synths. The sound is eclectic yet simple, windchimes heard over the scratching vocals. Screeching and static are included while a ringing lingers beneath the instrumentals.
Am I Free To Go? Tracklist:
1. Hellish View (Disclose cover)
2. Fuck Nazi Sympathy (Aus-Rotten cover)
3. Multinationalla Mördare (Totalitär cover)
4. Police Bastard (Doom cover)
5. Profithysteri (Skitsystem cover)
6. Respect the Earth (Crude SS cover)
7. Cybergod (Nausea cover)
8. Death Earth (Gloom cover)
9. Space Formerly Occupied by An Amebix Cover But Fuck That GUy for Being a Holocaust Denier
10. Protest and Survive (Discharge cover)