“Lux” blends spacey, atmospheric electronics with orchestral instrumentation in hopes of creating a grandiose listening experience, yet falls flat for just how monotonous the production truly is.
By Gavin Majeski
Ryan Taubert made his name known not for electronic dance music, but film, television and advertising soundtrack composition. Working on projects such as “Out of the Furnace” with Christian Bale, Disney’s “Earth to Echo,” “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” and in conjunction with companies such as Microsoft and Red Bull, Taubert has plenty of experience composing for a wide variety of genres and styles.
His latest full-length project was released in Spring of this year and is another helping of his routine blend of ethereal synths and loads of string instruments, primarily pianos and violins. “Lux,” like many of Taubert’s previous projects, opens with a slow building intro that sets the pace for the remainder of the album.
The self-titled and opening track is an angelic composition of violins and choir chants that smoothly transition into the next track, “Memories.” “Memories” contains solid drum layering that becomes more and more tribal as the track progresses, similar to that of a hand-played percussion instrument you’d find outside of western cultures.
“Windfall” is where the sonic themes of “Lux” begin to become redundant, as the initial tone of the track is another helping of atmospheric, spacey synthesizers, just like the opener. While the addition of some 80s style synth lines feels like they would fit right in with a dystopian cyberpunk film, their overall texture is nothing new.
“Frenzy” is the first song to feel more upbeat, with a crescendo that leads into a groovy synth drop. Even with the aforementioned change of pace, the four-minute run time of the song in combination with its repetition makes it underwhelming to say the least.
“Zero” and “Nations” are more of the same aesthetic as the opening track and “Windfall,” becoming an utter bore with how little diversity there is between the cuts.
The two primary standouts within the track listing are undoubtedly “Bang on About” and “High Flyer,” with the first of the two containing a repeated ambient swell before the listener is hit with digitized crushing.
When we reach the halfway point of the track, we are introduced to light clicks that are very reminiscent of the works from ambient producer Tim Hecker and his 2001 record “Haunt Me.” As the song progresses, there are more and more textures layered onto the track, with the final notable one being these wailing synths that sounds like pitched screams.
While not as texturally rich as “Bang on About,” “High Flyer” stands out for breaking the monotonous pattern of ethereal sounds progressing with no payoff.
The intro opens with what appears to be more of the static formula heard on so many other tracks, but the song does a complete 180 with a minimal breakbeat that leads into gorgeous, manipulated vocal samples.
“Lux” ends with “Runner,” a song that stands out for just how little it fits in with the rest of the record. While the song features more texturally rich content than the majority of songs on the LP, the pace and aggressive nature feels as if it was made by a completely different artist.
“Lux” feels like an overeager attempt at creating an otherworldly listening experience, yet doesn’t take the time to place enough effort into its sonic landscape in order to pull it off.
Favorite Tracks: Lux, Memories, Bang on About, High Flyer