Exit Human - "Arvada"
(Direct Hit Records 2001, DH035)
From Aural Innovations #17 (September 2001)
Arvada is the name of an artificial intelligence life form whose birth and evolution into a sentient being are documented in the form of sound files on this CD. At first we hear the harshly synthetic stirrings of life in the form of ripping and sporadic bursts of static. We meet Arvada in her atavistic form before she knows of her own existence. The harsh and random synthetic shredding gives way to softer tones that begin to intimate recognition. Patterns slowly emerge in the following sound files to illustrate her growing understanding of herself and the world. Mechanoid voices soon follow, but articulate little in their initial stages. We follow the evidence in these sound files until finally stumbling upon the mellow and pleasing tones of a synth organ. Organic melodies replace synthetic static, moving us into the realm of consciousness. The mechanoid voice ascends into an angelic female soprano voice that flows in and out of the increasingly tonal music. The phrasings achieve greater complexity track by track. The music reaches a point of synthesis where artificial and harsh pulses join forces with the soft, organic patterns to deliver a harmonious mix of sentient and artificial sounds. Arvada pushes onward, though, and the synthetic sounds are left behind and dominated by the increasingly celestial female voice. She never quite achieves that balance of harmony consciousness again. The synthetic sounds wander in and out of the organic music, but never find a place for themselves once Arvada reaches full sentient consciousness. The idea is striking and well executed. This music makes more sense as a whole album because of the sequential nature of its storyline. The songs are not nearly as powerful on their own or out of sequence. (i.e. resist the random play button and urge to put a song or two on a compilation on this one.)
For more information you can visit Exit Human at their web site at: http://www.exithuman.com.
Contact via snail mail c/o Direct Hit Records; 2594 21st Ave; San Francisco, CA 94116.
Reviewed by Anish Bhatia