Experimental artist Ashley Reaks truly delves into the experimental music genre with his latest release of ‘Compassion Fatigue (1-8)’. Backed up by a number of musicians, Reaks presents a very intriguing and somehow incredibly enjoyable experimental album experience. Comprised of 8 tracks, Reaks created the rule where track.1 had to be one minute long and in the key of A, and track.2 had to be two minutes long and in the key of B and so on and so forth. The result is a very peculiar album experience that is full of sudden twists and turns and unexpected elements that come out of nowhere, yet all sounding incredibly cohesive and (somehow) natural.
The rule set down for the album is obviously the main driving force of the album, and the main appealing element that draws people in. Across 36 minutes of music exactly, we’re presented with a barrage of experimental ideas and elements that aren’t restricted by the rules set down for the album. Musically, the album sounds like some sort of alternative-rock experience, somewhat similar to Neutral Milk Hotel yet somehow ten times more experimental. The album itself flows brilliantly though, with the rule of the album creating a brilliant experience that is easily enjoyable. It’s an interesting project, that is utterly mad and bizarre (and it certainly sounds so) yet it is still somehow accessible.
With experimental music there is always the risk of alienating listeners and creating experiences that are ultimately un-listenable. Whilst there’s certainly inaccessible elements to ‘Compassion Fatigue (1-8)’, the whole album is still a cohesive and structured experience that is still accessible. The experimental elements of the album have worked perfectly, with the only true negative trait perhaps being the coarse language which is impossible to ignore. Still the whole album flows so naturally and brilliantly that it’s hard to see it as anything other than strong. It might not be a true masterpiece of an album, but it is a brilliant strong effort that has done a lot right.
It’s interesting to see experimental music tackled this way. There’s so much happening on ‘Compassion Fatigue (1-8)’, yet so much of it works incredibly well in the context of the album. Each experimental trait and idea has bee executed so brilliantly, with the album’s main rule of thumb making for an incredibly interesting experience. It’s interesting to hear how the album progresses, giving it an element that sucks in the listener. It’s been pulled off very well, and is certainly a good indicator of level of creative ideas Ashley Reaks is capable of. This is brilliant experimental music, and the type one would love to hear more of.
- ★★★★☆ 4/5
- The World The Dead Have Made For Us
- Wrong ‘Un
- Joyless Joy
Ashley Reaks’ latest album ‘Compassion Fatigue (1-8)’ is out now.