Electronic music has become a refresher for my mind. I’m sure most prog fans are aware of “prog fatigue” where you really just need something different for a bit to recover from the onslaught that can be progressive music. Well, hearing as many albums as I do, that can happen quite often. Electronic music, especially progressive electronic, just provides a completely different experience, and I relish it. The latest earworm in this genre for me has been Afterform’s debut album “Talcon Industries”, which released back in April.
The band hails from Maryland, USA. The band consists primarily of band members of The Tea Club, that being Patrick McGowan, Dan McGowan, and Joe Dorsey (also the keyboardist for prog metal band Ocean Architecture). Their names are not readily evident under the band’s social media, though, and that kind of secrecy seems fitting for the nature of the music.
The music here is progressive electronic through and through. The band themselves advise that they are influenced by video game soundtracks, which I happen to love, and that is a good way to introduce someone to this genre. So, while you will hear deep influences from Vangelis’ Blade Runner and probably Tangerine Dream, you will probably also hear plenty of Deus Ex inspiration, and maybe even some Halo, among other video games. The music is full of synth and texture, as well as sweeping melodies and climactic song structures.
I realize that electronic is not for everyone. Maybe you don’t like the synthetic sound or appreciate the flowing and odd song structures. I get that. If you have an open mind, though, I know that most progressive music fans will find something to love in this album and genre.
“Talcon Industries” is one of those albums that rushes by you, and you almost wish there were more tracks. Some of the songs are only a couple minutes in length, and, while I admire bands who aim for quality over quantity, sometimes I do find myself wishing that a song could have lasted longer, if only to explore the central melody more thoroughly. Still, the music is varied across a wide range of textures and ideas, and so definitely feels like a debut in which the band is simply experimenting with ideas.
I have several favorites here. “Cybgz” is upbeat and melodic to the core. I absolutely love the feeling it gives. “Vessel” has this sense of nostalgia for me for some reason, and I love the twisting and turning synth lines that weave around each other. “Sentinel” has undeniable groove, and has plenty of little rabbit trail accents that really make it feel alive. “Mossy Graves” has some vocal tones to it, and it feels creepy and dark. The texture here is disturbingly real. “Root Node” is a pleasant lead up into “Hero Slave”, which feels bold and full.
The last two tracks might be the best, though, and they happen to be the longest. “Sign of Greatness” is gentle and flowing, and reminds me of Vangelis. It feels purposeful and grand. “Verticalibration” ends the album with electronic oomph and a fading finale. I love it, and I love the illustrious ending that these two songs provide.
Afterform might not be for everyone, especially if you just like rock or metal. More power to you. However, I continue to find myself getting lost in the progressive electronic genre, and I have no apology for that. I hope you find this album interesting.
I’m not familiar with the games but think this CD is great. I definitely hear the vangelis influence, also kraftwerk. I agree with your prog fatigue comment, and this is a great break from that for sure. Each song is nicely composed with patience, and yes I wish there was MORE ! I keep playing it over and over. It feels like a concept album for sure, whatever the Talcon Industries concept is ! To me if fits nicely with other prog related electronic music like Eat Static or Ozric’s later more techno stuff like Spirals in Hyperspace, Kit Watkins, Orbital, and maybe even some Jean Luc Ponty synthesizer stuff like Individual Choice. I also feel like I hear some Matts/Morgen influence in there. And at times it makes me feel “Black Mirror” like Clint Mansell stuff. It also reminds me of some of the so-called underground cloud or anime rap guys (e.g., samarai neito, misogi, gregxr, mike frost, et al.) but that could be the samples and sounds they’re using.
Overall it’s a great CD, very fun, interesting, and inspiring and nicely recorded with Huge bass! I agree the last two songs are the best. I’m glad I got the CD at a Tea Cup show, the guy was super nice and recommended it, and now I highly recommend it 🙂 Oh, and I wish I knew what the password is for https://talcon.industries/access-granted
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I can definitely hear some of those other artists, too. If you were to check out Final Fantasy, Deus, Ex, and other video game soundtracks, you’d hear them all over this album. If you liked this, try Joe’s earlier electronic album with Involved. It is fantastic, too.
Thank you – I forgot one other cool thing in this thread: the Chappie movie soundtrack: Hans Zimmer & Steve Mazzaro & Andrew Kawczynski is really good, Just got revolving-maze Thanks!
Been meaning to listen to that!