Lightning strikes twice in 2020 during an otherwise unprecedentedly dark and uncertain time. The Archangel returns for quarter 4 of the year with “Looking Towards Silence,” the full length follow up to the politically charged “These Drums Kills Fascists” full length from February of this year.
Those familiar with the Archangel will undoubtedly be expecting more chopped Amen breaks, big rumbling basslines, some reggae/dancehall samples, and probably a hip hop or spoken word sample with some female vocals here and there – topped off with that quintessential thing that cannot be named. You get some of that, no question. However, where “These Drums Kill Fascists” was a hard driven sonic stance against the fascisim running rampant in the United States and, indeed, the world, in the form of ruff jungle and dark dub – “Looking Towards Silence” seems to be the flipside to that heavy coin, an exercise in looking within for peace and comfort, an effort towards looking outside for that which is greater than the mess we currently find ourselves in. It is a melancholic and sad and hopeful and spiritual monolith of varied styles and influences that tiptoes through Burial influenced dubstep and lo-fi house, offers up a big sci-fi hard trance number that belongs on any late 90s or early 00s rave dancefloor, borrows influence for percussive bits and beat patterns from a wide variety of so-called “world beat” or indigenous stylings, spends a fair amount of time in beat driven ambient and soundscape constructions or cinematic sound design, swirls heavily in dub laden sound across the entire album, and – yes – delivers more than one chopped up romp through the jungle.
Longtime fans and followers will instantly fall in love with the jungle/drum’n’bass efforts inside, as they are top tier the Archangel choppage and low end, bar none. Those hoping for only that will need to open up and allow the album to peel back a few layers of their understanding of where the Archangel comes from, and what makes his work truly outstanding. Boundaries do not exist and in such scenarios people tend to suggest only adventurous listeners proceed. I suggest all listeners proceed full speed with ears first, mind second, heart third, and soul fourth. Enjoy one of few truly perfect albums in modern times. And do it repeatedly.
the Archangel – “Looking Towards Silence” on Bandcamp.
(free download but toss him some bucks!)