Sometimes the worst and most unnecessarily convoluted question one can ask about a piece of art is “What is the creator’s purpose?”, and if there were a mirror handy in every art museum to cast a reflective glance into the faces of its vexed spectators perhaps it would be apparent that the more contorted the face and furrowed the brow the more lost they really are. Of course, many many many many many examples of art need this type of heightened analyzation to be fully appreciated; however, maybe the most universally applicable question — “How does it make you feel?” — is all it occasionally takes to experience it. Miguel Alvariño’s latest full length statement, Participation, will lead its listeners directly back to that question.
The album clearly requests movement, and centers itself sonically around the overdriven, drum-heavy techno beats and synth-monsters that Alvariño has long trained to do his bidding. The album isn’t necessarily celebratory (although it can be); however, it is definitely communal and there is always one foot throughout all of the noise firmly set in dance music. “???” has the unavoidable attraction to slam one’s head in time to the most savory kick drum (even while sitting in a coffeeshop listening to it through headphones). The rest of the beat is a tom and snap rhythm so addictively nonchalant it duly compliments the sinister kick. The album has its lighter moments, but remains almost entirely in the realm of dark-and-heavy. “Genelaquer” is all screeching laser synths and excited runway-ready rhythms (I’m thinking Commes des Garçons or Alexander Wang). “Gummed” similarly displays rhythmic gymnastics as it tumbles recklessly through its entirety.
What one will not find on this album is a place to stop and think, and even after listening the whole way through its worth it to just go back to the top and begin all over again. While Miguel Alvariño wants us to participate he need not ask, the language of the music wills us to do that. There is so much music and art that leaves more of us to be satiated than just our bodies that it’s rather nice to let go of that and allow the thump of the bass and sweat on our chests be enough.
Miguel Alvariño’s Participation is available via Hot Releases and is streaming below.
1. Pallet Cleanse