Sounds Like

Dan Willis

In 50 years, when there is a seamless interface between human and machine, where our neural Internet connections allow constant internal access to the meta-mind that is Wikipedia, the Satamile label’s Silicon Scally will be an old man, or rather an old humanoid mind-machine.
Carl Finlow, a.k.a. Silicon Scally, makes music indicative of this sort of future. His brand of hybrid-electro, a term used to indicate a housey blend of Miami bass with a strong dose of Kraftwerk’s minimalism, has a sort of dystopic “Blade Runner” quality to it.
This music is meant primarily as dance music. However, Finlow crafts a whole world through his beats. A large part of his ability to create such a robofied world is his approach. All his sounds are simple, clear, with an interstellar scope and are, of course, computer synthesized.
Mechanism not only dominates, but is the rule. Every once in a while an ethereal humanoid whisper creeps into the fold. But rather than sounding like a refreshing emotional touch, the whisper sounds alien, as if organic life is some abomination of the new order, or, in Silicon Scally’s world, simply The Order.
There is a strange paradox within this music. It is brutally efficient, which seems to point towards a minimalism of sorts, but the beats drive in a relentless, floor-pounding miasma. The sounds are huge, modular, and possess a metallic sheen that permeates the whole album.
Tracks like the opening “Thrusters” show off Finlow’s affinity for thundering bass and a disposition for the funky. But funky is the wrong word. It’s as if disco died in a terrible accident, and Silicon Scally resurrected it as a cyborg, preserving its dance-based beats and funky stance, but with the human element left over as some ghost in the machine.
I normally try not to let the album art influence my perception of the music too much, as flashy covers can often prop up music made by derivative, self-loving dullards, and unengaging covers can sometimes betray the vibrant innovation within, but Silicon Scally’s cover art was too cool to ignore.
The cover depicts a refined modular cityscape, but if you squint a little it could look like the guts of your stereo. It’s the sort of city you would see if Transformers took over the world.
All architecture stripped down to its most functional essence, with a simple robo-bird icon as the sole aesthetic flourish. Transformeresque humanoids hover throughout, some attached to the sympathetically modular buildings like smaller Lego blocks attached to larger ones.
This is the sort of music that happens as a result of insane cultural feedback loops, where technology plugs artists into more creative circles than has ever been possible in the history of the world. Finlow’s hybrid-electro could be a simple eddy spinning off such a feedback loop. Or it could be the sort of revolutionary approach to music and culture that shatter the yoke of the status quo. You decide.

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