I remember when I first discovered Perturbator. I barely knew what the retrowave genre was all about when Humans Are Such Easy Prey hit me in the face like a jackhammer. I grinned at the title as my ears melted from the synth raging from my speakers. I immediately went to listen to the whole album Dangerous Days before completely falling into the neon, stroboscopic world that is retrowave, helmed by none other than Mr. James “Perturbator” Kent himself.
The highly anticipated The Uncanny Valley thrusts you back into the dark, cyberpunk world that has been set up with Dangerous Days and boy, does it deliver. Dangerous Days was bold, aggressive and unrelenting, with few pauses here and there to give your spine a rest from the furious head banging but with The Uncanny Valley, Perturbator seems to have one-upped himself. Continuing with his fast, heavily synthesized string of music that reminds you of lasers, Skynet and sexy androids, the feeling of an unapologetic, dark and violent world is still present yet perceptively different. In The Uncanny Valley, Mr. Kent mixes new sounds with the familiar and takes his time introducing his characters and setting the atmosphere of his new vision. He punches you in the face as the album kicks off with Neo Tokyo, slows down for a moment with Weapons for Children before the menacing Death Squad and finally caresses you with the jazzy Femme Fatale as you finally take a breather. Then it kicks you in the (metaphorical) nuts and there you go again.
It is interesting to notice how the subtle experiments with sounds and changing of tempos enhance Perturbator’s unique style and projects the atmosphere of neon soakage as seen in movies like Blade Runner and Drive. The mix of darksynth, industrial and horror elements blend into a sound that electrifies your skin and invites you into a retrofuture that barely waits to sink its teeth into you. The Uncanny Valley is a great addition to the world of its predecessor and to further the narrative, it even comes with a short comic designed by artist Ariel ZB. Put on your Powerglove and hack into the grid.
And let’s be honest, listening to this guy makes you feel like a badass motherfucker.
Perturbator – The Uncanny Valley (2016)
Released via Blood Music
Available on vinyl, CD, cassette and digitally through iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, Bandcamp
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