Posted April 9, 2013
By HADLEY JORDAN
Arthur Ashin, the man “behind the curtain” of Autre Ne Veut, is a master at creating songs filled with human emotion.
With the release of Autre Ne Veut’s full-length sophomore album titled “Anxiety,” he accomplishes just that.
The idea that music has the ability to shape our perception and grow and flow inside of our minds is the foundation for this album.
There has been a struggle to name the genre Autre Ne Veut is mastering. Autre Ne Veut has been described as avant-pop and R&B bending, though iTunes simply and lazily labels it electronic. Another similar female artist Grimes has described their music as “post-Internet.”
Their music has been almost entirely inspired by the Internet. Artists and musicians are no longer limited by subjects from which they can derive inspiration. By having the freedom to share music and read music blogs and talk to other musicians and artists all over the world, artists like Grimes and Autre Ne Veut have introduced the world to the positive side of how the Internet can affect music.
Ashin was formerly a jingle writer, creating background music for brands like Estée Lauder until he decided to start making the pop music he had always wanted to make. His debut EP “Body” played with the same formula of cheap synthesizers and dreamlike vocals that “Anxiety” further explores.
Though his jingle writing background contributes greatly to his catchy tunes, every song melody comes from his struggles with anxiety. The melodies honestly reflect relationship anxiety, family anxiety and social anxiety.
As the first track “Play by Play” begins on Autre Ne Veut’s album “Anxiety,” the listener is brought into an alternate world with the sound of electric harps and chimes. The track features a slow build-up of gospel-like harmonies that eventually lead to a pleasing cacophony of mashed up synthesizers, church bells, and a female voice that intertwines with Ashin’s haunting falsetto.
The single “Counting” is the most compelling track on the album. The song begins with Ashin’s voice in layered harmonies with dreamy synthesizers in contrast to the horns that blare dissonantly at opportune moments throughout the song, capturing feelings of unease and anxiety.
“Counting” is about the anxiety Ashin felt about calling his grandmother, worried it might be the last time he spoke to her. The pleading melody conveys the desperation and distress of not wanting to let go of someone.
“Gonna Die” is the last compelling song on the album, a ballad with heart-wrenching falsettos. The rest of the album fizzles after this track, leaving the listener semi disappointed with the last third. It isn’t necessarily terrible, or even bad; it just lacks the depth with which the first two-thirds of the album grips the listener.
“Don’t Ever Look Back” is almost annoying, with a piercing melody that contrasts with the pulsating synthesizer in the background.
This track almost nearly itself with a harmonized electric guitar solo in the middle, but the listener is bombarded with the shrill tonality in Ashin’s voice mixed over the solo, causing the fitting emotion of the album title.
Don’t be fooled by the title of the track, “I Wanna Dance with Somebody.” It is not a Whitney Houston cover. This song features the same style of catchy and melodic hook that is featured on the rest of the album, but fails to cause the listener to stop and take notice, as does the rest of the album.
Ashin was successful in creating an album that acts as a Rorschach test in that each listener can mold the songs into whatever he or she wants them to mean. Every song has a powerful sense of emotion that can convey many different feelings and thoughts depending on the listener.
This disorienting album is something to be listened to and the genre titles “post-Internet” is something to be paid attention.
- Title: “Anxiety”
- Artist: Autre Ne Veut
- Label: Software
- Release Date: Feb. 21, 2013
- Special Features: Bonus track: “Counting (Remix) [feat. Mykki Blanco]”
- Price: CD: $8.99, MP3: $6.99, Vinyl: $15.98
- Rating: 8.5/10