One of the most remarkable features of Android Lust’s career has always been the voice of its mastermind, Shikhee D’iordna. The manic and emotional stylistics of Shikhee’s vocals are a welcome reprieve from the homogenous cookie monster grunts of today’s popular oontz oontz. So when an album that enters the Android Lust catalogue is largely devoid of such a notable trait, the result can only be a gamble.
But the Android Lust project has never been a slave to just one particular feature. Since 1998’s Resolution, the dark electronic tapestries that sprawl through a now nearly decade-and-a-half-old career have long been saturated in gripping richness of synths, samples, and a lush wave of drama. 2013’s Crater Vol. 1 relinquishes the dominance of Shikhee’s voice in favor of bringing into focus an atmosphere and ambiance that forge a new frontier.
“My Kingdom for a God” sets the platform for the bulk of Crater—a delicate and sombre piano line over brooding electronic textures. This kind of subdued approach to moods continues in spades across the entirety of the album’s 42-minute runtime, the beats and samples often creeping along with a deeply restrained rage buried behind all the plaintiveness. The synths pulse, drone, and wail distantly with a hollow and ominous quality, boasting an immersive resonance. The three songs during which Shikhee sings—“I Need to Know,” “From the Other Side,” and “Here and Now” —are laced with a weary elegance, ridden with dirge but still blooming with angelic fragility. All of these bits and pieces are run through a sleek production nature that flows like a purified river, rushing past deposits of eerie industrial experiments and sunny ambient dabblings.
With an already impressive resume of sounds and styles, Crater Vol. 1 seems like a natural progression for Android Lust, amplifying hints of this sound on previous records and finally letting them go into full bloom. If the album’s name is indicative of anything, then future works will see the progression of this sound into even more exciting territory. Whatever happens, the Android Lust name remains dignified and respectable with this latest offering.