Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Mkaio - A Far Off Horizon (2012)
Country: Laie, Hawaii
Style: Electronic/Dance Pop
Matthew Kammerer is an electronic artist who sent me an email a little while back asking me to do a piece for his album. Now, obviously, this is not an electronic music oriented review site/blog/etc., and I don't claim to be an expert on it either, but it's the sort of style I like to hear every once in a while to break up the monotony. This one happened to come by my table at just the right time.
Frankly, the style that Kammerer plays on here isn't really my style. I hadn't listened to any of the album before I sat down (finally) and decided to prepare a review for it. This is very glossy and sugary sounding electronic music that veers dangerously close to electro/dance-pop for my own tastes more often than I would like. However, I'm not saying that this is a bad record, but it isn't my style of music, so I'm going to try and write about this honestly without totally slogging it off because it isn't my style. It's the sort of approach I know I don't often take, but I think I have to go about it this way because it would be a disservice to simply say this is bad and I didn't like it, considering the latter isn't completely true as well. There were spots on here and tracks that I did think appealed to me. I think that there are a couple of points where styles that I'm more partial towards seem to pop their heads out and I that's where I become interested. The more new age sounding synths on Summer Heart or the straight-up ambient soundscapes of closer Adagio For Jen stuck out to me because they were more atmospheric sounding pieces that weren't quite as rooted in sounding big and poppy. I'm not sure how much it says that I enjoyed a track called A Prelude more than the majority of main tracks on here.
I think the biggest problem I happened to have with this record was with just how clean and polished it sounded. I mean, I know electronic music doesn't have a reputation for being raw or extremely dirty sounding, but there's clean, and then there's spotless, and this thing is just devoid of any and all dirt. It was just too sugary and poppy sounding for my own tastes, I would have liked to have heard something a little less sweet on here, because it's pure sugar until the last track. There were also some rather uncomfortable sounding songs on here that I just found rather hard to listen to, namely Tried & True which somehow wound up sounding like a modern Linkin Park sort of tune, and I'll admit that it is certainly a catchy sounding tune, but I think even Linkin Park has more noise in their records than this one does. But I think that the lowest point on this record is the track All Night, which I'm sure is destined to be played at dance clubs at some point during a late night set, but was simply unbearable to me. I did happen to think that Maui did a good job a portraying that very innocent and lighthearted sound that accompanies the childish mumbling going on in the track and was one of the few instances where I thought the polished sound did work well with the concept. The sound of this record is the sound that I hear in every modern dance-pop song or electro-rap song on the radio or on MTV/Fuse/etc., so in that regard, I don't doubt that this will succeed with its target audience, but it's certainly not my style of music.
As I've said numerous times throughout this review, I'm not sure how much my opinion on this matters since this isn't my style at all. It's not bad, and I'm sure that if you happen to enjoy really polished sounding electro-pop and dance music, you'll dig this, but if you're more of a fan of harsher or more experimental forms of electronic music, like I am, this just won't be for you. Listen at your own digression.
Overall Score: 5.5
Highlights: Light At The End, Summer Heart, A Prelude, Adagio For Jen