Exit Sense Amor 107.5

[Astral Plane; 2016]

Styles: sonic collage, minor literature, baroque
Others: Total Freedom, Elysia Crampton, Chino Amobi, Kamixlo, N.A.A.F.I

Visit exitsense.net and enter a world. A world of collage. Of cutesy video game characters and teen idols. Of invasive surgery (TW: graphic imagery), angels, and cocks. An agglomeration. An assemblage. A becoming. Professional skills: Sound collage, Vroom, Vrrp, Vvvvv.

Exit Sense’s Amor 107.5 is the first release in Astral Plane’s mixfile series. Positioned between album and mixtape, it cherrypicks pop moments from the last decade and a half (Rihanna’s “Diamonds,” Future’s “Turn on the Lights,” 50 Cent’s “In Da Club”) and smashes them against a series of all-in-the-red club production styles, in a manner akin to N.A.A.F.I’s Pirata compilations. The result is a squalling set of tracks, constantly teetering on the edge of collapse into pure noise, as if the ferocity of the production is rending the album’s fabric in real time.

This Total Freedom-esque collision of insides (chart music) and outsides (underground styles) is a move that has become somewhat overused in the past few years, rubbing some of the shine off of a radical aesthetic. Amor 107.5’s first few tracks suffer from this overfamiliarity, repeating a series of sonic signifiers (metal-on-metal, whirrs, flailing kicks) one would expect to find in releases by Angel-Ho, M.E.S.H., or Kamixlo, and pairing them with a pop or hip-hop vocal. There are divergences from this sound, such as “Thrown in the Pit’s” explosive burst of screamo jungle, but this listener soon became restless, ready for something different.

It is to Exit Sense’s credit then that these functionally abrasive dance tracks slowly dissipate over the course of the album, revealing a more considered, atmospheric music. The clattering ambience and recycled sonic tropes of the first five tracks are redeployed, intertwined with baroque strings, flutes, and pianos, lending the album a languid, painterly feeling. As sounds, samples, and phrases reappear, the album takes on a porous, perforated quality, as if aspects of the tracks have been dissolved and transferred to another moment in which they may coagulate anew. So the free-jazz flute of first track “Daemons in the Sky” becomes the blue, tonal flute of “Yo duermo poderosamente.”

This process of dissolution and reassembly is characteristic of the political and aesthetic concerns of the reticular club music in which Exit Sense situates himself: (dis)connection, transcendence, the revelation and transformation of that which has been hidden. By conflating atonality, dissonance, and melody, Amor 107.5 generates moments of paranoia, beauty, melancholy, and pain, charting the emotional and affective topographies of minoritarian becoming.

These are carefully composed tracks, clattering beats braided through classical instrumentation, vocals astride; a twisted harmony of kicks, strings, and verses. Lines of flight are drawn to the ornamented club music of Elysia Crampton’s American Drift and Chino Amobi’s Anya’s Garden, strings swelling and screeching. We move through themes, a shivering, percussive atonality driving the tracks, creating sonic beds for vocals to emerge and shatter. And then we’re left behind, bearing witness to this brooding take on club music, Future ringing in our ears.

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