4 out of 5
Produced by: Aleksi Perälä
Back when I worked at a mall music store, one of my managers was a raver type and would often put on club mixes when we closed up shop. In the many years hence, I’ve come to appreciate or accept genres I once couldn’t stomach, understanding that the ear picks up nuances once you’re more used to hearing them, but still – typical club music isn’t the kind of thing I’ve been able to apply that to. While it’s surely wrong to describe Aleksi Perälä’s Resonance as club, it does share the focus on a constant, banging beat I associated with those mixes to which I was subjected, but shows how much can be done with that as a template.
Whether you want to describe it as techno or electro, Resonance is nonetheless very danceable throughout, never letting the rhythm halt or step too far away from its syncopation. Perälä’s production tends to be very warm, and that holds true here, but it’s still a banging beat, stop which the artist adds his typical spacey glitter. And the album leans into this pretty hard across its A- and B-sides, but there are two key things here that keep it fresh: no track overstays its welcome, tending to hover at the 4-minute mark, and there’s always a new sound to be found as the tracks proceed. Those sounds also slowly evolve the approach: we start out in rave territory, very shiny and heart-pumping, but the gloss becomes a bit more mysterious; by the time we hit the B-side, more experimental elements are finding their way in.
This sets us up for the moving and intense groove of Ukmh51900044, ending the first 12″ (of two), which starts out almost ambient before becoming dark and grimy. The C-side embraces the ambience moreso: beats are stripped back and muted, and our club atmosphere has become much more contemplative. And yet, because we’ve been rather purposefully led here, and because the core beat is still maintained, it all follows – it all makes sense, and there’s then, logically, a synthesis of all we’ve heard on Ukmh51900046 (and maybe I could read in to how all of the tracks are sequentially numbered, but such labeling has been Perälä’s style for a while, now).
The D-side, though quite beautiful and still dancey as heck, doesn’t really evolve this much further – it’s the only point when some of the music starts to blend together, and kind of just feels like tracks to fill out the full runtime. They’re not boring by any means, but the journey feels rather concluded before we get there. In that sense, though, they are also an excellent coda to the whole affair.
Resonance was released along with a slew of Perälä material in the late 2010s, but as befitting its name, it tended to stick out to me amidst a lot of that, and gives credence to how much room for exploration and growth there is in music of which the primary function is to make you dance.