The Uncanny Valley
6th May 2016 – Blood Music
01. Neo Tokyo
02. Weapons for Children
03. Death Squad
04. Femme Fatale (feat. Highway Superstar)
05. Venger (feat. Greta Link)
06. Disco Inferno
07. She Moves Like a Knife
08. Sentient (feat. Hayley Stewart)
09. Diabolus Ex Machina
11. The Cult of 2012
12. Souls at Zero (feat. Astronoid)
13. The Uncanny Valley
Death Grips. Chelsea Wolfe. Thrice. The Algorithm.
For whatever reason, these artists – most of whom are not even metal adjacent – have been widely embraced by the metal community at large. Perhaps it is because of their flirtations with more abrasive sounds or darker tones that makes them palatable ambassadors to genres that are often outside the wheelhouse of metal fans, but in any event it is clear that Perturbator is enjoying this same popularity within the community and is connecting people to the burgeoning synthwave genre.
In Perturbator’s case, the association with the metal community has a few compelling reasons behind it: the popularity of his contribution to the soundtrack for the flashy and violent Hotline Miami games; the album art that looks ripped from 80s metal albums; and the horror-inspired tones of many of his otherwise danceable tunes. While The Uncanny Valley is still much in the same vein as his other albums, this is also Perturbator at his most subdued and approachable.
The Uncanny Valley - more so than any other album by Perturbator – evokes the sound of a 1980s film soundtrack or something approximating that same feeling like Drive or Sin City did; rather than aiming for creating memorable songs, The Uncanny Valley seems to have emphasized atmosphere. Taking a walk at night with your dog in the city? Try The Uncanny Valley. Going for a long drive? Toss on The Uncanny Valley. Trying to focus at on your office work? Put The Uncanny Valley to work for you! It possesses a nearly meditative quality that manages to evoke a mood that at once puts you in an alternate reality in which Robocop was real.
Tracks like opener “Neo Tokyo” – a clear reference to classic film Akira – demand attention with choppy synths, disquieting violin flourishes, and porous, pulsing beats and immediately draw one into the ambiance of a wet, neon-infused cityscape. Perturbator often mixes these playful beats in with an underlying creepiness that would have been completely at home on the soundtrack of It Follows. Two other tracks are notable for including incandescent, cool female vocals such as “Venger” which is reminiscent of Shiny Toy Guns and the even lighter “Sentient.”
For the most part, The Uncanny Valley adheres to a plaintive mid-tempo that is easy to get lost in over its hour plus runtime. There are few surprises here for those who have been following Perturbator for years, but it is also an album that is guaranteed to get people to say “what is this?” no matter what environment one plays it in. Perturbator has a distinctive sound and voice that holds appeal for nearly anyone. The Uncanny Valley is yet another strong effort from the prolific Perturbator that lacks the hooks of his other works but dodges the issue entirely by providing a soundscape that is fit to accompany and enliven every part of the day and night.