Cologne-based producer/musician Olivier Haas, otherwise known as APORIE, recently stepped into Pink Unicorn Studios and laid down his debut record, Control. Previously he conjured up sound effects for video games, but has developed a somewhat apocalyptic, post-rock meets drone vibe here. He describes his self-release as a “diverse blend of genres such as ambient, drone, post-rock and shoegaze.” And to my knowledge this is only available as a digital (name your price) download via Bandcamp.
Diving right in….
At first I was a bit skeptical, the start feels as though you are about to enter arena rock with a raucous anthem about to ensue, but instead the shift to something circa German tradition of the early 70’s onward. The streaks of Can and Tangerine dream are embedded in the cracks between guitar and synth here, the twang of a certain aural history. The synthesized drone, in ribbon formations meanders as taunting strings deliver the promised shoegaze-style bottom end. Ever a fan of the communal sound of Lush, My Bloody Valentine, et al, I can certainly see a trajectory here that pairs diverse genres in a new way – and yet it’s got its own hybrid moody personality.
Though this album is broken into nine tracks it sort of plays like one very long unconscious concert. It’s got a core that vibrates and pulses with a storyline wrought with trepidation. There’s something quite impressive that this mix is coming from a solo performer rather than a band, the layers seem to defy the possibilities of this being in a live context, however, it comes off very much so as if it were played that way. Haas uses an acid-washed drone that buzzes throughout, shifting into a quasi low-fi techno on Verdrängung with what can only be described as a patch that comes off as a chorus of pitchy violins. It’s quirky and luminous. In other places he’s a bit heavier handed with the mix becoming a bit louder and sandy, oddly spooked on Comfort (of all titles!). It’s a bit too fidgety for my personal level of ‘comfort’ – though in no way does the track become derailed. Maybe some become content in a world of edginess?
The atmosphere shifts with a dominating sense of melancholic guitar on Eternal dragging its heart with minimal dazzle. This may be my standout track here, as he’s got a very metered percussion that marches on. Elsewhere into the concluding two pieces, the track Release is indicative of its title, rising from responsibility, letting go. It’s an emotional apt conclusion until Dissolve comes in with a certain twang that steals some of the dramatic thunder, and leaves you with unrest. Of all the pieces throughout this is the most classically jam/fusion style and may have worked better towards the middle of the record for climax and continuity. However, in its defense I’d also say that it defies a trite happy ending, which I can appreciate.