Electric Treatment Free Sounds Off on Self-Titled EP

By Deuce

It’s difficult to ascertain just what the concept was on Electric Treatment Free’s self-titled Extended Player. The compositions are bereft of conventional vocals (as in, those delivered live during the recording), backing instruments, lyrics and, for the most part, song structure.

What you get instead of all those conventional elements is just a man with his machine, which largely sounds like a synthesizer or a keyboard, and, perhaps, something of a muse. Plus, there’s a heaping dosage of vocal samples, some of which are more creative than others.

For example, “the brother of sleep” begins with a phone call. A phone seems to ring interminably before someone’s voice message kicks in—evidently they weren’t around—and then, of all things, there’s a message actually left on it in a British or U.K. type accent.

Nonetheless, the prime ingredient in all five of these tunes that range the gamut from five minutes in length to a minute is a frantic, frenetic sounding keyboard that seemingly runs all over the place. On “sleep”, the keys take on the tones of an electro piano that is markedly similar to that which dominates Hubert Laws’ 1970’s opus “Afro Classic”—which is a good thing, were anyone wondering.

Other times it appears as though Free’s shifted the sound module to a guitar, which is surely the case on “maths (conlon guitars)”. They’re partly distorted and partly reminiscent of keys, yet they move swiftly in a form of instrumental acapella for a large part of the track.

The vocal samples take over once again on “andrei’s bright day” which fades in with a voice repeating ‘this is the greatest moment of my life’. Whether or not the artist is being disingenuous (or perhaps just sardonic) is up in the air as soon enough a different sounding voice screams and the scattering of keys reclaim center stage. Hope “andrei” wasn’t having a bad day or something, especially not on the greatest one of his life.

The most computerized affair is easily the collection’s opener, “study4”, which kicks off with the panning of female voices. That odd, not quite human keyboarding goes into effect shortly thereafter, this time buttressed by what could be video game effects, some with more portamento than others. This eclectic characteristic is indicative of this work as a whole, which challenges any listener adapted to the easy radio playlist.

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