Published Jan 20, 2016Akase is the new collaborative project by UK house and techno mainstay Midland and vocalist Robbie Redway. The duo take their cues equally from brooding electronic rock and R&B, and Graspers, their first LP, has the makings of a crossover; it combines dense electronics with emotional vocals and presents both via accessible song structures.
The record's strengths are the beats and instrumentals that underlie Redway's singing. Cleverly subtle polyrhythms and hook-driven synth work make the record a worthwhile listen, but unfortunately, Redway's vocals get in the way of these elements more often than they accentuate them. Unsurprisingly, the tracks that feature Redway's voice chopped and sampled and without straight lyrics, "Beseech" and "Extract," are the most satisfying ones on the album. These two tracks point to the duo's real potential.
Akase is in the process of developing a live show, and while Redway's slightly affected delivery holds this record back, his bombast and passion might be exactly what's needed to energize a crowd. (K7)