Autre Ne Veut
Age of Transparency
Arthur Ashin’s (a.k.a. Autre Ne Veut) unabashed love of deep soul comes through in the way he stretches and elongates the simplest of phrases into breathy crooning. It’s practically athletic in its ambition. Age of Transparency‘s “Panic Room” shows this off best—a dark pill of anxiety livened into euphoria by the time the chorus hits. The deep, dark synth-pop that carries these tunes is further fleshed out by a jazz combo, allowing the title track to weave in some terrestrial elements. Swaggering and bold, “Switch Hitter” is like an erratic, unhinged version of an Usher hit while the final track “Get Out” storms into the room with a choral group. Hell, the first track starts off like Sam Smith’s best release ever before devolving into Oval-esque digital manipulation and pleading-on-the-knees-style soul revivalism. Ashin’s refusal to work in small measures—the exhibition of his pitch-shifted R&B, the way he hangs his adoring vocals in grandiose, stuttering electro-pop frames that can explode at any moment—make this a pretty fascinating piece of twenty-first century pop.