Luo - Unspoken | Album Review

Over the past decade or so there’s been an explosion of musical artists blurring the once distinguishable lines between electronica, EDM and experimental rock. Despite such a geyser of content the majority of such artists have used their craft to animate imagery of retrospection, retreading soundscapes and motifs already explored on mass. But yet, there’s a plethora of wondrously innovative artists who have used forward thinking originality to breathe new life into a genre that - in theory - has unlimited potential. Luo proved themselves to be one such artist with their full length debut Sleep Spindles, but the two-piece have reinstated their importance again with their sophomoric effort Unspoken.

Whilst the prospect of releasing a record during a time of unfathomable global chaos may be unfavourable for most artists, such turmoil may ultimately benefit this release. A shimmering and evolving soundscape of contrasted colour and vibrancy, Unspoken is an escape; a digitalised retreat to a world that sprawls forth with a plethora of loops, fills and contrastive inspirations. Such a statement, while certainly lofty, becomes evident as Unspoken unfolds with the opening track ‘Testament’. A vibrant and luminous introduction into the neon lit realm Luo have birthed, it’s respective pulsating synth beats and calculated drums are immediately gripping. There’s a sense of darkness present, one that continues into the previously released ‘Eldritch Rhythm’ and the throbbing keys of ‘Septa, but it’s not one of malice or danger. It’s a sense of darkness that black light and gentle neon provides; comforting, illusive and pacifying.

‘Problem Ball’ see’s Unspoken dip it’s toes into the world of tech-metal, with stuttering beats being marred by chugging walls of downturned metallic guitar. It’s not invasive or aggressive, not something you would compare to an artist such as The Algorithm at their most vicious, but it does sound like it was ripped from DOOM Eternal at the final minute for being a bit too modest, something that becomes evident when it calms into a soulful lull. It becomes apparent that this is the primary beauty of Unspoken; every song on this record, whilst containing it’s own identity, morphs organically. Like a viscous metallic fluid, free flowing flux is the very essence of Unspoken.

As the record progresses into it’s second chapter following the meditative minimalism of ‘The Gapper’ the inspirations that formed Unspoken become more paramount. ‘Boss Fight’ sounds like a fight for supremacy between Carpenter Brut and Mouse On The Keys, ‘Pangolins Pt 1’ harkens thoughts of modern day Perturbator and motifs of Three Trapped Tigers and Boards Of Canada flutter ethereally within ‘Elegy’ and it’s respective interlude. Those educated on the genre Luo inhabit will be charmed by the myriad of influences evident. But still, at the same time, Unspoken is an accessible starting point to those making their initial first steps into this future thinking genre.

Whilst to relate to such artists such as Carpenter Brut and Perturbator would imply some form of raving ecstasy, this is not the case with Unspoken. This record is made for the darkened confines of DIY venues and independent performance spaces, home grown environments where innovation calls home. Yes, the group’s influences as a collective are evident but this record is certainly an organic production that birthed by creativity.

Unspoken is what many need right now. It's an escape into a shimmering and beautifully decadent landscape brimming with organic life in the form of digitised riffs, fills, loops and sophisticated vibrancy. For those seeking future thinking electronica infused with post-rock ambience this is certainly a release worth diving headfirst into. Sometimes tranquil, sometimes thrashing, but always stimulating, Unspoken is by far Luo’s most accomplished and finest work so far.

Score: 8/10

Unspoken is self-released digitally March 27th and released physically April 27th. Pre-order the record here.


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