Review: Trans/Human – The (UN)Expected

Trans/Human - The (UN)ExpectedI spend many long commutes listening to music and podcasts over a rather weak and temperamental car radio, floating through veils of static to arrive at pockets of clean signal. The (UN)Expected carries the same sense of temporal refuge; I am hoisted up by tornadoes of white noise and carried between strange places, each like a hotel room of insular narrative and curious motives, with dead air lapping at the door all the while. For a moment, I forget that the album is a collection of digital files. I am an untethered soul lost in seas of analogue frequency, stumbling upon sonic rituals in progress – nothing makes much sense, and there’s something incredibly invigorating about accepting that.

Much of the record reminds me of 70s depictions of future machines, humming with the sound of nuclear energy trying to squeeze out of space-age chassis; teleportation devices in waiting, automated burps of binary calculation. I hear massive rotary engines choking on signal interference on “The Incident At Frankfurt Airport”, which then drops back to leave a tannoy bubbling incoherence into a vat of jelly. I can only guess at what the “incident” is: perhaps an onset of hallucination that strands me in the ephemeral cathedral of the departure lounge, belittling me through architectural scale and a temporary futility of place and identity. The closest I get to real-time clarity is the declarative chimes during the opening of “Peasant”, and I can almost taste their timbral details in amongst the noise that otherwise grumbles from behind a netting of distortion and displacement; sensory interaction through volatile proxy. Soon, the chimes are gone – replaced by fondled guitar groaning out of a broken amplifier, babbling nonsense amidst the rattle metal pipes and the dripping of strange taps. I feel almost sleep deprived; ingesting images through blurring eyes and half-absent ears, extracting solitary threads of significance from a blanket of mysterious objective meaning.