Published Apr 17, 2015The concept album seems to be back in full swing, in terms of electronic music, at least. But while some albums are tackling grand narratives, Oscar Mulero's latest record travels a much simpler path: the relationship between music's harder elements (the muscle), and its more ambient aspects (mind). Considering the techno bastion that Mulero is, one might assume that his latest, Muscle and Mind, is all muscle, but once you fully immerse yourself in the record, its mind begins take shape.
The album's brawn is sitting front and centre, as one might expect. Tracks like "Mentally Induced Action" and "Dualistic Concept" are no-nonsense techno at its finest: dark, rhythmic and hypnotically pounding. They are a necessary force in driving Muscle and Mind forward, but accompanying them underneath the hood are far more interesting components. "Anatomical Variation," "Element" and the album's title track, for example, play host to the scattered beats and haunting sounds of IDM, which act as a bridge between the muscle and the mind by having feet planted in both camps. The album's tail end then goes a step further toward the brain, with purely ambient tracks "Mental Causation" and "Unconscious," the latter of which steadily gets bigger and warmer until its peak, making for a reflective end to an album that's got far more depth to it than its techno surface would have you believe. (PoleGroup)