[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
Fifteen years ago, the Architect was born and in those years since he’s been a busy busy boy not only re-defining his own sound but subtly influencing those around him. Like the albums “Galactic Supermarket” and “Lower Lip Interface”, “Mine” is another radical left turn into the unknown. It’s an all-star cast who appear on “Mine”: DSX, PK, HECQ and Comaduster to name a few but the one project which casts the longest shadow over this record would be Alan Wilder’s Recoil. Not in terms of how it sounds or where it goes musically, the way it is sequenced and the insane attention to details are where the similarities lie.
I don’t think Architect could have done this album if not for the tour with Recoil, because while this project has always striven to push as hard as it can against expectations and the contemporary sounds of prevailing trends: never has it shone so brightly or been this polished before. Every single note, effect and vocal are meticulously placed to achieve the maximum dynamic effect on a person’s ears. It also is quite telling in terms of tempo that our good Architect has been once again experimenting in his studio utilizing, ahem, some unsound methods. I point this out because many of the tracks on here contain some of the styles he’s known for but they’re muted and muzzled beneath the immaculate exterior of the overall package. This doesn’t even begin to tackle how different this comes across compared to much of what is going on out there.
Architect state, quite rightly, that they are very proud of this record and they should be. I say they because like Recoil, and this is the most salient point when comparing the two: Architect have gone from just one guy calling the shots to a loosely-knit collective of kindred souls who have worked towards a collective goal which no single individual could hope to have achieved. Unlike Recoil, though, Architect don’t disappear for years on end nor does this outfit do variations on a theme; I love what you do, Alan, but the whole blues angle is really played out. It doesn’t surprise me at all that Architect suddenly appeared out of nowhere on his radar and wound up touring with him. Sometimes a jolt to the system is required to maintain system integrity. This is something Architect are in no danger of losing because as was the case from it’s very debut, Architect are perpetually branching out into different realms of expression.
At first, some of the vocals on here were off-putting until it came to me that they’re purposely designed to be. Architect love contrasting elements, in the world of what the band previously did, change was the only constant. And a change this assuredly is. Don’t go into this expecting familiarity, check your preconceptions at the door. For Architect to have done what they’ve done is outrageously brave, and as if all the silken arrangements of what are on the CD aren’t enough, an additional three compositions can be located on the vinyl. What these do is take “Mine” from being a full-screen production to a wide-screen epic.
They alter the track-listing and running order of “Mine”, inexorably changing the flow and feel of this record in ways you just have to hear to believe. I’ve read others saying these tracks tie Architect’s past efforts to this one… they must not be hearing the same album I am. These aren’t put on “Mine” as some kind of cheap continuity trick, they’re there to add depth where there already was an abyss. They all, also, happen to be located near the heart of the record so as to bring out further detailing; go ahead and just try to identify this dervish’s point of origin, it’s impossible. What we have here is a sprawling, vertiginous collection… a down tempo jewel exuding absolute majesty; the bliss born out of intensely personal interactions of a cloying, intimate nature.
I acknowledge that not many are going to go for the uncut director’s version of “Mine”, the truncated compact disc version will be enough to sate them. But for those of you still reading who’ve been fans from the start, consider this: “Galactic Supermarket” also had three additional pieces on the vinyl companion. Remember back to how privileged you felt hearing them. Could you ever consider eschewing them from that era? This is what Architect have managed to do yet again, once more the fans will be given a chance to get the complete picture. It really is in your best interest to do this because the eleven which made the disc, slick and poised though they may be, are just the beginning of this story.
From dizzying heights to guttural lows, to the edge of good taste (some of the lyrics on here define the word visceral) and on into the brilliant night time atmospheres you only get with an Architect release, we’re along for the ride. A fantastically arranged, sublimely conducted symphony that you will find yourself going back to again and again and again. “You were born in the morning and I bury you in the evening, such is love…”
Horribly beautiful. I can’t look away.
Architect – Mine
CD, Digital, 2013
Hymen Records, ¥814