Full disclosure – I don’t know much about Errorist apart from his music, his real name and that he hails from Kidderminster. But that’s fine, we’re not here to talk about him, just his new album which is released on Spotify and Bandcamp. Recently (during lockdown times) a lovely chap called Ben Sparrow (aka Asbestos Farmer) set up a Facebook group called “Herefordshire & Worcestershire Electronic Music Makers” which has been a really great way of bringing lots of us middle aged men together who think that buying a motorbike is probably not a safe way of having a midlife crisis so instead we all spend our money on Synths and make weird and warbley music that a few people will listen to. If you fall in to this category, please join it. Whether or not Errorist (David Connolly) is having a mid-life crisis I can’t say, but what I can say that he joined this group and he produces music very much worth listening to (and I’m very glad that Ben set up this group else I may never have heard any of it).
Whereas a lot of electro types might experiment with creating some weird noises that are often jarring on the ear, Errorist creates music that you want to listen to again and again. I’m not saying he isn’t experimenting in his own way, but he’s not assaulting your senses with distortion and random 8-bit squeals jammed through a NAND Gate. He is the sort of artist who actually creates really “good” instrumental music that you can not only listen to but enjoy also. This album really explores all of the possible musical avenues one might traverse with a few synths in front of them. Some tracks are upbeat and good to dance too, others are more chilled and thoughtful creating sonic landscapes that one can easily get lost in. The production quality of this album is second to none as well. Each track is perfectly balanced and doesn’t collapse the audio at any point. The order in which they’re presented is lovely too, you get a real sense of a journey through this soundscape, and Errorist is the tour bus driver. It’s cinematic over-all, you can easily hear these tracks being used to create a soundtrack to quite a mysterious film
Picking out a few favourites then; the first on my list that really hits home for me is “Cloudtheme” (which we featured on the latest episode of Flam and Flange). We’re in Jean Michelle Jarre territory here with some lush polyphonic sounds starting out giving a real sense of depth and intrigue. We then get some flutters of percussion that give it an impending sense of something big going to happen followed by a 303 style squelch that reminds us we’re in “futuristic” territory, before a brief pause and then a colossal bass pad that just rises up out of the darkness. I haven’t seen the Dennis Villeneuve version of Dune yet, but I imagine this is what it will sound like when I do. If it doesn’t, I will be unhappy.
Electronic musicians are often under-rated by the wider public, accused of being repetitive more often than not (*all music is repetitive, that’s one of the ways you know it’s music!) and so it is a hard job to create a really progressive sound that is always evolving and changing to keep the interest of the listener, even though many of the melodies and chord patterns stay much the same throughout. If you’re looking for an example of when this is achieved with a subtlety and charm that one might expect from a down-tempo jazz band in a smokey bar, look no further than “Memory Inc”. The avid synth enthusiast will be quietly appreciating the multitude of parameter changes to the VCO, the FM, the PWM, the Low Pass filter and the ADSR on the main melody which give it a real sense of organic growth. If you don’t know what any of those stand for you I promise will just get lost in the all encompassing vibe.
Dendritic Mind Trip is the first Errorist tune I heard and it’s definitely a favourite of mine. It closes out the album perfectly. The track has some really lovely chord progressions and melodies but it’s the under-scoring of those sounds that is something that stands out. The muted kick drum, the texture elements that pass subtly in the background bring you to a safe place before the hub of the track kicks in, once again returning to that expansive sound that is both emotive and captivating, drawing you back in to that established soundscape. It’s a rewarding experience to hear such carefully thought out parts to the track for me as an electronic musician because it gives me ideas and inspiration of how I might approach things in the future, but for the average listener it is probably akin to listening to a hilarious story from a Grandparent about that time they were stationed in Singapore and were mistaken for Carey Grant, and then being given a tenner to go and spend on some sweets. The whole album is very well crafted and pleasure to listen to either actively, as I have, or as pleasant background music while repainting the kitchen. Who needs lyrics and vocal samples when you have so much depth of character with richly layered wave forms on a bed of organically farmed drum loops? Not me, that’s for sure.
By: Stu McGoo – Flam & Flange