Album Reviews

Rival Consoles – Overflow

(Erased Tapes) UK release date: 3 December 2021

Rival Consoles - Overflow Overflow, Rival Consoles‘ seventh studio album, is a big, ambitious record. Its sounds are grandiose in a manner normally associated with soundtracks, its structures aren’t afraid of stretching over the 10-minute mark, and the record’s use of dynamics are masterful and nuanced. The concept is technological in nature, with track titles such as Pulses Of Information and Scanning and the Silicon Valley babble that runs through The Cloud Oracle serving as a veiled commentary on our increasingly mediated, digital world.

Opening track Monster is suitably menacing, with a swooning, swaying synth pulse accompanying sporadic bangs and an ominous pizzicato melody. The use of cross-rhythms is intriguing in a minimalist sense, and as echoey pads tumble around the arrangement this song bodes well for the rest of the record. Pulses Of Information is another highlight further down the tracklist, featuring rapid hammering notes and some nifty filter work: muted bumps increasing in intensity, gaining sharp fangs of white noise that recede the same way they came in.

Tension In The Cloud goes for an unsettling ambient feel, as gnarly bass tones complement a glitchy effect reminiscent of reversed bell ringing. Noise Call And Response II makes a great impact with punchy, syncopated percussion and rumbling bass, but it outclasses its predecessor to such an extent that Noise Call And Response I should have been cut altogether.

Flow State brings something of a sandwich structure over its lengthy runtime, with panning, sparkly chords bookending bassy beats – and is that the occasional dubstep-style wub in the mix? Meanwhile Touches Everything is the album’s grooviest track, a thumping mid-tempo rhythm section underneath shrill synth layers. By the time Making Sense Of It All’s wobbly notes dissolve into reverb it’s clear that Overflow, while not entirely justifying its runtime, is a serious work from an intriguing producer.

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