Erasers ‘Constant Connection’ (Night School)

Shrouded yet hopeful electronics

Of all electronic music’s myriad sub-genres, “dungeon synth” has to be the most problematic. Dark and brooding tones have been dominant in synthesiser compositions since the very beginning, and feeling the need to carve out a niche corner just for artists that aren’t prone to offering up cheerful melodies seems, well, a bit much.

Whether you like the tag or not though, Erasers are leading lights of this subdued scene. Based in Perth, Australia, the duo of Rebecca Orchard and Rupert Thomas have always dealt in the fragile and sparse, almost as if they’re reflecting their home city’s remote geographical location. Perth might be their base, but their music suggests a Germanic quality – in Orchard’s Nico-esque vocal, arresting yet detached, and sounds that evolve like a modular synth meet-up in a gloomy 1970s Cologne bierkeller.

Their third album ‘Constant Connection’ operates with a sense of maudlin fragility, but its low-lit presentation masks what can, at times, be a relatively hopeful set of songs. These tracks all, in some way, feature constantly murmuring drones which, when combined with Orchard’s voice, leave you feeling uplifted in the same way that psychedelic music can nudge you out of a pedestrian frame of mind. Or, if you’re of a more morose disposition, the scant framing of key tracks ‘I Understand’ and ‘A Breeze’ will leave you fairly downcast. Delicate, shimmering melodies abound on the extraordinary title track, but layers of descending tones act as an offset, leaving even the most joyous sounds subtly, and savagely, darkened.

Perhaps a less obvious reference point for the tracks here would be the more spartan pieces on Joy Division’s posthumous ‘Closer’ and New Order’s ‘Movement’. ‘Away From It All’ is the best example of this, with its hollow, uncluttered percussion, a guitar riff weighted with ominous dread and a melodic bassline that Hooky would definitely approve of. Orchard offers one of her most yearning vocals too, singing of returning to either a real or metaphorical place. Whatever the reason, an escape into the minimalistic expanses of ‘Constant Connection’ is to experience electronic pop at its most delicate and thoughtful. The dungeon is optional.

Leave a Reply
You May Also Like