Without a doubt the biggest musical surprise for me this year was this album. I came to it knowing absolutely nothing about it or the people behind it and was absolutely blown away.
After doing some research, I found out that the project was spearheaded by Drew Danial; part of the wonderfully experimental electronic band Matmos who’s ability to create great music from almost anything I have always found inspiring.
However, Matmos has always been a band that I have found more cerebral than emotionally resonant. Shall We Go On Sinning So That Grace May Increase manages to strike a balance between the two.
The instrumentation is far more traditional but the focus is always on the instruments textural nature. This use of more traditional instrumentation allows you as a listener to latch onto the sounds, playing on our historical memories of music throughout our lives, and yet taking them in compositional directions that are fresh and exiting. The melodies are often hard to grasp – verging on the ambient – and yet the emotional weight they carry is at times profound.
The album flows between tracks with such ease that, when listening to it as a whole, its hard to differentiate between tracks. Instead, you notice the change in mood as the album progresses through darker more sinister sections to uplifting and almost angelic moments of sheer audible bliss.
You are sent on this bold voyage of musical and emotional discovery at a brisk pace that never lingers for too long on a motif, melody or musical idea, putting you as the listener in a flow state reminiscent for me of the work of Neu! but with a greater depth and distance covered. It remains fresh and inspiring throughout, constantly shifting, developing and collapsing into new and exciting territories.
Out of all the albums this year, this is the one I wish I had created myself. It shows a mastery of a completely alternative approach to music production, and yet creates something that still connects with the listener on a fundamental way that makes it easy to forget its experimental nature. I have loved every second of the musical journey it takes you on. It is a journey I look forward to experiencing many times in the future.
For any fans of albums as a complete piece of work, “Shall We Go On Sinning So That Grace May Increase” should not be missed.