Title: The Dark Side of Nature
Release date: 11th January 2019
‘We may brave human laws, but we cannot resist natural ones’
The quote from “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea”, the classic science fiction adventure novel by French author, Jules Verne. When the Nautilus ship unexpectedly hits an iceberg that ends up blocking every corner in sight, Captain Nemo pronounces those famous words to describe the “caprice of nature” just happened.
The same sentence is accompanying the latest work by French artist 9beats, out last 11th January on Annulled, Norwegian label specialised in “techno made from nature”.
Nature is surely at the centre of this album too: the whole work was in fact born from a reflection on its ambivalent force. “We often associate it with peace, calm and beauty, but nature can also be cold, dark and dangerous”, says the producer.
The album is a well-crafted sonic adventure through the four elements of nature. The titles of the tracks might allude at their most disruptive expression, but the outcome is a work very much respectful of each and every one of them, almost as peacefully observing that “caprice of nature” and its results.
The curtain rises with Sea Vent, first track of the LP: after calmly setting the scene during the first two minutes, thick darkness is brought on stage, ricocheting and mesmerizing sounds reminiscent of the open sea create ambience: a vision causing tension, but also curiosity for the unknown.
Equilibrium settles comfortably in the darkness. Measured beats grow in the background, making your body (and mind) move, especially when crossing path with delicate natural sounds: a truly hypnotic atmosphere perfect for the dance-floor.
Matter creation follows, slowly exploring how everything originated: as space expanded, the universe cooled and matter formed. We indeed find here wet atmospheres, cooling tunnelling sounds and powerful solid beats.
Fourth track of the album is Phreatic Eruption, which, slow and warm like lava, pervades the senses, hearing first. The care and sensibility of 9beats’ production are exceptional and it shows especially in this track.
The second part of the LP is even more interesting, colder perhaps. It opens with Selevol, a track whose route is enigmatic as the title itself. Perhaps the abbreviation for Selective Evolution, it’s made of watery sounds, distant bells, nighty soundscapes and rattling percussions: elements that seem to chase each other, in a sonic struggle for survival. They coexist extraordinarily instead, blending together in the most captivating way.
Hypothetical path seems to look at the space. Cold pads and 11 minutes in length bring us in ambient territories, describing with music the journey of a magnetic fluid. Is the space the next frontier of our eternal quest?
Venom is a dark jungle of sounds, where every single element falls into place at the right moment: nothing is forced nor left to chance. We are immersed and part of a painting, whose rich colors are constantly changing, forming an iridescent palette.
Squall outstandingly closes the LP, with a slow sublime hardness of sound worth of being played in some special place: an auditorium perhaps, a forest even better.
9Beats is a painter of his surroundings and he does it in the most humble and elegant way. His techno is deep, textured and refined: a space where darkness and light blend together without fighting. With The Dark Side of Nature he describes what’s happening out there, how human and natural laws try to coexist in this world. Food for thoughts.
(pic by Dylan Roberts)
Listen to Phreatic Eruption premiered by Monument: