Soul Surging

by Patrick Schabe


Just so we know what we’re dealing with here, I’m going to give you the quote from the press release that explains this new EP:

“We’re at the forefront of a new genre of music called Dreampop, which is beginning to develop an ‘international underground following.’ It’s for people who are bored with ‘alternative’ or ‘indie’ music, which has become a cultural ghetto, defeating it’s own purpose by making it virtually impossible for anything different to break through. In contrast to that, Dreampop is a fresh new start.”

cover art


Soul Surging


This quote from Alex!, or Alex Ayuli, to be more precise, is as vague and hopeful as this EP. It’s a lofty goal that Alex is trying to achieve, even if the music is not quite so lofty. The idea is as concrete as the music is airy.

Those clubbers from the ‘80s who didn’t fry all their brain cells will remember the classic M.A.R.R.S. tune, “Pump Up the Volume.” Mr. Ayuli was one of the members of that group. But do not be fooled, there is little to no similarity between that song and this EP. Alex has also established the Dreampop label to promote this new genre that he believes in so completely, so you might want to remember that there’s a little bit of commercial self-servicing going on here.

Regardless, Alex’s new music is compelling in some ways, repulsive in others. It’s difficult to describe. “Dreampop” is a fairly accurate label. The songs are mostly soft keyboard washes, smooth jazz drum machine beats, and airily strummed acoustic guitars. Alex’s voice ambles in muted tones telling various tales of surreal landscapes. Indeed, it could easily be the music of dreams, with quiet undertones and a hushed, PM Dawn-like atmosphere.

On the other hand, it lulls the listener into the land of dreams quite readily. I’d never want to listen to this while driving in my car for fear that I’d kill myself or someone else when I fall asleep. It’s got plenty of verve and there is complexity in the subtlety, but it’s not likely to win a huge following as a new genre. It’s heavily laden down by its New Age feeling. It would probably go over well in candle and incense shop.

All said and done, there’s not a whole lot else to say. If post-rock is such a big deal, then maybe this album qualifies as post-pop, but whatever can be said about it is limited by the fact that it’s relatively new, hence difficult to compare. In its own right, there’s something worth hearing here, but it’s not necessarily the new revolution.


Soul Surging


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