12 Jun 2022 - Skyler
Ambient | https://pastinsidethepresent.com | Release date: 20 May 2022
36 releases a great new synth album
36 is a moniker of Dennis Huddleston under which he releases a fresh take on 90s inspired electronic music. His most recently released album is Symmetry Systems and is heavily inspired by some of the earlier Warp Records albums. For me, I think he successfully pays homage while not treading over old ground. In the notes as the bottom of the bandcamp album page he says:
“I have a deep love for those early Warp albums, particularly the Artificial Intelligence compilations. It was a wonderful time for UK electronic music. That beautiful, warm machine sound, with an optimistic (if somewhat naive) vision for the future. I found the whole thing incredibly inspiring and wanted to revisit those memories, albeit with a 36 twist”
I’m a huge fan of Aphex Twin and Squarepusher so hearing something aimed in the same general direction had me excited. I’ve been a long time listener of 36, I remember finding the album Tape Series: Red while looking around for more electronic ambient music to listen to back in 2010. It’s been great to listen to all of the releases and watch the project grow, and this album is another release I’ll continue to listen to.
Symmetry Systems features a lot of saw waves, reverb, and hypnotic melodies. It’s very easy to just let the album wash over you, there is no percussion in it and each track fades in or out into the next. While it may not have percussion and lean more into the hypnotic an machine driven sound, this album is not without memorable melodies. A barrage of arpeggios and melodies define each track. With some ambient albums it’s easy to get lost in the spaces they create but 36 manages to keep me engaged through the entire experience. This is the kind of music I could see in montage scenes in sci-fi shows or a reflective section of Mass Effect.
If I were to give this new chapter of 36 a few descriptive words they would be along the lines of: warm, spacious, synthetic, human, optimistic, and nostalgic. It’s really great to see an album like this from 36, a lot of his previous work has been more modern sounding and while I do enjoy it, it’s nice to get something that makes you nostalgic every once in a while. His earlier works definitely lean into the more contemporary production techniques of granular synthesis, acoustic instruments, and more heavy on the bass. I’m truly excited to see what he does next and will continue to enjoy all the past releases until we see it.
If you enjoy Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, Boards of Canada or any of the 90s IDM stuff that verges on ambient definitely give Symmetry Systems a listen. I think you’ll find something you can enjoy and cherish with the new release!