Review: perkXsounlabs “Rapidamente”
Rapidamente is the newest album from Arizona’s native son Paul Roland Perkes, aka perkXsoundlabs. Coming hot on the heels of Perkes’ earlier offering String Theory (June 2012), Rapidamente is another collection of catchy, kitschy, and classic chiptune and electronica tracks that hearken back to an earlier period of electronically manufactured music, both in sound and feel. The album is comprised of sixteen instrumental tracks which seem to pulsate with Perkes’ personal scientific gravitas (the guy holds a degree in physics and numerical analysis), and this larger mindset seems to fashion the color and the shape of Rapidamente’s overall thrust. This is thinking man’s electro, perfect for late night drives as well as the soundtrack for cramming for your calculus mid-terms.
There’s something simple and effective about Perkes’ approach to beat connections, and with String Theory and now Rapidamente, he has proved himself as an aptly equipped vehicle for funneling an archetypal yet suitably forward looking electronic fever pitch (think Kraut, Kraftwerk especially, as well as other similarly ensconced acts such as Neu! and Tangerine Dream). Tracks on Rapidamente trough and swell on what might be considered a simple, un-nuanced logical arc by those who are less than educated about electronica’s divergent root-stock, as there’s none of the flash in the pan dynamics, overwrought vocals, and chunky club drops and stutters found in many more mainstream outings. Thus Perkes’ record should be readily embraced by those who have an ear for more subtle, retro, and nuanced electronic textures. Not to suggest that the album doesn’t kick it into high gear in its own time, though (check out the slow build and eventual upswing of “Empty Spaces”, the afterburner jet fuel of title track “Rapidamente”, or the jittery vacuum contours of “Intrinsic”, for two examples). In all, there’s a little something for everyone here, and Rapidamente delivers a diverse enough sound spread to appeal to a pretty wide fan base, seems.
Much like the previous String Theory, Rapidamente delivers a cohesive dose of measured melody, and there’s an underlying current to Perkes’ concoctions that is familiar across the entirety of the album, a certain style that is his own that comes out on all the tracks. Where Rapidamente builds on its predecessor is in terms of the diversity and depth of its contents, and tracks on this record tend to progress well and show more differentiation from one another. While String Theory was quite a good record, as a collection of tracks Rapidamente builds and progresses off Perkes’ previous foundations and presents the listener with a full spectrum heroic dose of varied electronic goodness that doesn’t show very many seams and remains pretty diverse throughout. “Dreams of Conquest” is quite video-game like in approach, all victorious and soaring. “Opportunity” gives up the claustrophobic Darwinian space rock, backing into the piano rolls and running man theatrics of “Above the Clouds”, while “Serengeti Sunrise” is the sound of Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking fronting an intergalactic funk outfit astride a dark matter mobius strip. “Infinite Hope” is an album standout, with aptly moody and moving melodics that channel and refashion the classic feel that Perkes’ is rocking all over Rapidamente, with some cool theramin, circuit bending like effects surfacing mid-track like interstellar whale songs. “Opus Zero” features a nice, baroque piano line that blends into something like futuro-chamber pop, while “Caught in the Web” starts out unassuming enough, only to drop the big four on the floor drums right on your dome, with some interestingly off-kilter changes peppered through the track, and “Joyful” might be described as the future sound of London filtered through some archaic Kraut tent revival out near Orion’s belt somewhere. “Evolution” completes the scene, and is all kinds of dated sounding, though not necessarily in a bad way, dig?
Rapidamente is perkXsoundlabs second release of 2012, and according to Perkes’ bio, about 30 years in the making. What with the planetary shift to second tier consciousness looming large, one can only imagine what 2013 will bring. Hold on to your hats, folks.
Rapidamente – LP
Rating: 3.5 Stars (out of 5)
Reviewer: Reed Burnam