Bret Autrey, the musician who goes by the name Blue Stahli, is two-thirds of the way through an ambitious three album cycle called the deadchannel_Trilogy. The previous two albums, Quartz and Copper were released in 2020 and showcased a brilliant blend of genres like industrial, darkwave, synth pop, EBM and electronic dance music. Cyberpunk 2077 may have brought the genre to the forefront of mainstream consciousness, but there are artists like Blue Stahli that have been fans and purveyors of cyberpunk for years and aren’t just hopping on the latest trend.
“In the wake of personal upheaval after my mother’s passing, I’ve been writing and reconnecting with the things that inspired me to begin creating in the first place,” said Autrey. “The same wild escape I felt back when I was watching cyberpunk sci-fi movies on VHS and losing myself in late-night headphone listening is what I’m creating for myself here.”
The third album in the trilogy will be called Obsidian and it’s being released on January 15, 2021. Today we are thrilled to premiere the video for “The Mountain,” the first single from Obsidian.
The video opens on an ominous note, with a human skull hewn in dark shades and draped in fabric alternately fading to black and showing the blurred image of a featureless individual. The music opens with some sinister synth tones and it feels like “The Mountain” could turn into a chilling bit of experimental noise music.
Instead, when Autrey’s trancelike vocals enter the track it takes on more of a downtempo industrial pop influence. The vocals gradually build in intensity and melody, with glitchy electronics humming and flittering in the background before hitting a climactic tom drum fill that feels like it’s about to introduce a big hook-filled chorus like an industrial-noise version of “In the Air Tonight.”
“The Mountain” doesn’t break into a radio ready chorus, instead continuing onto a subtle crescendo, increasing intensity until it rewards the listener with a dreamy darkwave chorus. What’s great about Blue Stahli is the incorporation of electronic and traditional instrumentation. Yes there are moody synths and pounding programmed drum machine beats but there’s also wailing guitar riffs and moments where the drumming sounds like it was recorded with a live drummer.
Blue Stahli is yet another exciting entrant in the recent wave of likeminded artists like mxdwn favorites Night Club, Uniform and The Black Queen that are bringing industrial-influenced music back to the forefront.