Recondite shifts direction with third artist album ‘Iffy’ [Review]
Recondite‘s third artist album album Iffy is a less complex embodiment of the Innervisions sound. It’s clean and well-structured in terms of arrangement and production on both the collective and individual track level. The sound is large and clearly built for a big room dance floor even when it favors minimalism over a more emotional affection. The single “Levo” made waves on an almost mainstream level (let’s just call it what it is), but fans’ aversion to its mass appeal shouldn’t diminish the fact that it’s a great tune for what it is. The album has a more house-y style to it than the two albums that have preceded it, although the Berlin-based producer sticks to his guns here and there with that stark and cold analog sound that’s become a staple of his work.
One thing that is immediately noticeable about Iffy is its lack of musical tension. It doesn’t thrive off mounting tension as last year’s Hinterland does. Rather, it rests on more relaxed and lingering atmospheric soundscapes and uncomplicated tri-note synth chords and riffs. The simplicity of the melodies allows for a more deliberate and fluid journey through sounds. While most of the tunes on the album seem tailor-made for a big room or festival dance floor, some hidden gems like “Jim Jams” revisit that subtle minimalism and musical economy Recondite has always seemed most at home with. There aren’t a ton of climatic points, but the album makes up for that with a steady stream of booming forward-marching beats. “Duolo” and “Konter” in particular are dark and brooding examples of the album’s four-on-the-floor driven momentum.
Tracks like “Buteo” and “Garbo” nod their head to a more techno-rooted aesthetic, allowing for a smoother transition from Brunner’s older material to these newer sounds.
Overall, the album is engaging from beginning to end. Purists can either view Iffy as a superficial and lazy attempt to appeal to a mass audience, or a refreshing change of direction towards larger, more enveloping sound. Sure, it isn’t nearly as abstract and introspective as On Acid or Hinterland, but sometimes great music doesn’t need to be so recondite.
You can listen to and purchase the full album here.