As the growth of more advanced music technology has increased exponentially in recent years, so has the creation of electronic music. Although there is still a large demographic that criticizes such styles for countless reasons (the most prevalent being lack of creativity, talent, and/or that certain “human” element), this is only to be expected. Historically, every time a new genre of music has thrust its way into the public eye, there have always been just as many naysayers as there have been believers. Look at rock ‘n’ roll, rap, and jazz. Even classical composers faced negativity throughout their careers. The fact of the matter is that people are always initially resistant to change. Music, on the other hand, is constantly transforming, and musicians are always looking for new ways to mold it into new and unique adaptations. Electronica is simply one of these more recent transformations. With such a philosophy established, it is easy to sit back and immerse oneself in the subtle nuances and extraordinary sound design of the digital revolution.
That being said, I am excited to present to you the latest album from Australian drum & bass group Pendulum. Immersion is their third full-length studio album, and in my opinion it is the most cohesive. Although the majority of the songs are consistent with the fast-paced and frenetic mood of drum & bass, they explore a variety of other styles as well. This is exemplified by the catchy, electro house vibe of “The Island – Pt. I (Dawn)” and “The Island – Pt. II (Dusk),” the dubstep tendencies of “Set Me On Fire,” and the electronic/metal fusion “Self vs. Self,” which features Swedish melodic death metal band In Flames.
Pendulum has successfully created an exceptional electronic rock fusion with Immersion, just as they have done with their previous albums. They use a combination of electronic and acoustic instruments to create a more unified sound that appeals to both genres. On “Watercolour,” for example, they brought in their own brass section to record in the studio, as opposed to simply using prerecorded samples. The group is a full rock band outfit – guitar, bass, drums, and vocals – augmented by a slew of synthesizers and digital effects. As is consistent with all the other albums featured here on Audio Intimacy, every track on Immersion brings something new to the table, and none of them are worth passing over.
Rob Swire, the lead vocalist and mastermind behind Pendulum, produced the album along with bandmate Gareth McGrillen. Although the songwriting for Immersion is impeccable, the tremendous production value of the album is what really brings it up to a whole new level. It stands up resiliently to the tightest electronic records today, yet it also builds an enticing bridge over to the rock community. On a brief tangential note, it is worth pointing out that Swire and McGrillen have now formed the electronic dance music duo known as Knife Party, which has achieved tremendous success amongst the EDM community.
Pendulum has long been a standout group amongst an ocean of aspiring drum & bass producers, and they do not disappoint with this album, which may very well be their last. On June 16, 2012, Rob Swire announced on his Twitter feed that Pendulum was taking a hiatus and that there were no plans for a new album in 2013. Whether or not they will return sometime in the future remains to be seen, however we can at least be comforted by the fact that they went out with a bang in Immersion. Listen through the entire album and discover for yourself the multi-faceted world of this quintessential addition to any electronic rock collection.