SaffronKeira - A New LifeDeep, dense, dark and dangerously dystopian with a high dose of deliciously dubby techno thrown in… this is how I would summarise “A New Life” by SaffronKeira on the fab Denovali label.

A two-disc long-player of wonderful depth as well as considerable scale and length (over two hours in total) this release really caught my imagination and held it tight… providing a soundtrack to my dystopian dreams. Picture ’Bladerunner’. Replace Vangelis’ fab score and attempt to start again… to recalibrate your expectations… if you are like me you would choose to score it with “A New Life”.

There is a glitchiness to the soundscapes presented… sounds skitter and dance across the listener’s consciousness… painting pictures in the mind… dark and disorientating pictures of unlit alleyways, deserted paths and darkened underpasses… of places and spaces not accustomed to visitors and certainly not frequented at the dead of night.

Melodies evolve from these glitches and dubby echoes… forming repeated themes and motifs that are welcomed with open arms. They form the basis for the tracks and provide a sense of context within the dissonance and percussive elements that shuffle and move across the mind.

It is, in fact, these percussive elements that make this recording so very special indeed… because they take the release from an ambient standard into the more explorative territory of atmospheric ambient techno. This isn’t a cold, clean, uncluttered techno but a delightfully cluttered, decidedly noisy and remarkably sentient sound where the beats work with the glitches, chirps, bleeps and drones to derive the most wonderful atmosphere… one that is almost alive and breathing… an atmosphere that is fully and fabulously immersive and all-encompassing… one where the listener can and does become lost in the soundscapes and the sound pictures these soundscapes present.

Imagine, as I do, a dystopian cityscape at night… overpoweringly reminiscent of an artificial jungle… alive in it’s own unnatural way – ‘intrepidation’ is one such track that gives this view.

What’s more… the introduction of vocal samples in the second-half of the album adds to the already heavy and disorientating atmosphere. Tracks like ‘first denti’ and ‘psychologically destroying’ are prime examples of this… adding a further dimension to the already dense atmosphere in a manner only broken and repetitive vocals can and do.

This is headphone music of the very best kind… the kind the sounds fresh and new with each listen yet paradoxically warm and familiar. It is best engaged with minimal distractions and enjoyed as a whole. No one track stands out for me… they all work as a glorious whole.

In fact, this recording is available as a two-disc vinyl double-album… and is something to be enjoyed in real-time, preferably late at night with the lights dulled and no other distractions present. I can imagine how the vinyl, as it ages, will add to this recording… adding extra pops and clicks to the myriad of sounds presented.

If you are a fan of atmospheric ambient music and are looking for something a bit different… something denser and decidedly dystopian then I can heartily recommend “A New Life” by SaffronKeira. This is one release I will certainly be coming back to in the future and one I will gladly give a rating of 9 out of 10 due to it’s foresight, scale and execution.

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