The Alpha Tapes

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Tranfiguration, aka David Sherman, produces the type of electronic music that keeps the genre from becoming a faceless landscape of keyboards and loops. What sets Transfiguration apart is that it has emotion, something that often gets lost in the mix of drums and basses and faux-strings of other outfits. Rather than coming across as mindless layers of mere manufactured sounds, the songs come across as actual songs, the electronics are played like instruments rather than computers, and the result is a record of mini-symphonies rather than jagged collages. Mostly sans vocals, the album's tracks play like a spy-film soundtrack, a bit dark, at times a bit sad, but ultimately a coherent and moving piece. The brilliance is its subtlety. However, despite the remarkable strength of the instrumental pieces, the most breathtaking highlights of the record are the songs that feature the vocals of Roger Quigley. The first, "Sandstorm," is a chilling, stunning slice of shadowy, noir-esque techno, stirring on its own, but brilliant with the addition of Quigley's reserved, almost Underworld-esque, vocals. One of those songs that is easy to get lost in, "Sandstorm" is recommended for listening to on repeat in a dark room, preferably if it's raining outside. Unlike some bands that appear freestanding and hide all traces of influence, Transfiguration proudly displays an affinity for groups like Massive Attack and New Order, and even more organic, guitar-based music as well, but the influences have been internalized and the music produced is unique, but with roots, and this makes the record all the more endearing and human. Truly techno for people who love the genre, as well as a nice reintroduction for those who were turned sour to it by trashy-pop loudmouths like the Prodigy.

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