Published Sep 21, 2016After a brief jaunt as Computer Graphics, Russian producer Alexey Devyanin has released his second album, the intermittently satisfying Human.exe, as Pixelord.
The sounds here often hearken back to an era when electronica consisted of little beyond beats accompanied by sparse, angular sound effects, when artists like pre-Dig Your Own Hole Chemical Brothers ruled and more forgotten names like Fluke, Photek and Leftfield populated the scene. It's an odd moment of electronic music history to mine for influence, and the album is at its best when it doesn't immerse itself too fully in the style. It's especially compelling when Devyanin works with melody in at least some capacity: the ominously beautiful "Metal Mutant" is an obvious standout, and its followup, "Fix Me," channels chilly '90s IDM melodies in just the right way.
Too often though, Devyanin lets his beats and squelchy filters carry an entire track. Early-album bores "Operator" and "Machina" set the tone for this, and other examples unfortunately follow. Many tracks seem unnecessarily truncated as well, offering intriguing elements in their third acts that peter out frustratingly.
The album commendably sticks to its retro-futurist approach throughout, but concepts like this sometimes have a tendency to hem artists in as opposed to letting them expand and develop interestingly. Devyanin is definitely an interesting voice in electronic music, but the formula this time around constricts him. (Hyperboloid)