Sunday, 27 November 2016

Album: Games Violet - Tragic Milkshake

Games Violet Tragic Milkshake

Info: Games Violet (Alex Games and Emma Violet) is a duo of producer-performers from Ireland, currently based in Philadelphia. Both were accepted to the doctoral composition program at Princeton University where, after several years of writing avant-garde electronic music and contemporary chamber pieces, they shifted focus toward performing and producing their own tracks that they could perform live. They create music that warps many genres by drawing upon their skills in writing for orchestra, live electronics, sound installations, and sound design for theatre. 

When working on the album, we just tried to write as freely as possible, so the mood and aesthetic shifts pretty wildly from track to track, but there is an over-arching theme of dark comedy. What emerged are songs that deal with a wide range of topics including Brexit, iPhone/Apple fetishism, North Korea, NSA controversies, social media narcissism etc. Everything was created using synths, guitars, drums, and vocals in our home studio which is currently a basement in Philadelphia. 

Tragic Milkshake is a thoroughly enjoyable contemporary electronic journey courtesy of Games Violet, a feeling that is instantly tangible with the album's opening title-track. It's the kind of sound you'd imagine a young Gary Numan creating if he were in his early twenties in 2016, with the track doubling up as a wry look at the banality and acceptance of modern consumerism through the metaphorical medium of the much maligned (and rightly so!) continental breakfast. And in one track, Games Violet have set out their stall for the remainder of the album thematically. 

On tracks 'Tin Box' and 'NSA Strut' the duo embrace glitchy and out of time snappy beats and bending warped electronic sounds, with the latter track rolling intermittently between light-heartedness and sinister overtones. Incidentally, there's also an early Blur feel about both the sound and delivery of latest single, 'NSA Strut'. Whilst Tragic Milkshake has an overwhelmingly new feel to it, their late 70's and early 80's alternative electronic influences can be heard scattered across the album, on the wonderfully crafted groove vibes of '17th Century (v2)', for example, the pair invoke the spiritedness of David Byrne's Talking Heads, and it works so very well.

An enchanting darkness envelopes us with the grime sounds and vocals of Violet on one of the album's standout tracks, 'Blue in Blue', it's akin to a lo-fi fuzzed out version of a Crystal Castles number. ON 'Lotus Island', the first three quarters of the track fittingly fall under the song title, a chilled out sense of abandon, that is, until the opium trip kicks in, and Games Violet drop into electronic-dub territory, vocal effects melting like dripping tar. 

The album closes strongly with 'LYAD II', like Bon Iver and Thom Yorke dueling together through vocalizers, it's a truly gorgeous finale to draw the curtain down on a most rewarding experience for the listener. Kudos to Games Violet for a more than competent and very intriguing debut album.

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