Alex Smoke – Love Over Will LP
Following his hallucinogenic dancefloor EPs ‘Dust’ and ‘Green Man’ for R&S, Alex Smoke returns with his latest opus ‘Love Over Will’, a suite of perfectly crafted electronica, brimming with layers and texture that mixes depth, euphoria and social commentary in equal measure. As with his 2011 release under the Wraetlic guise, ‘Love Over Will’ sees Menzies further exploring the melding of his voice with intricate electronics and discordant melody.
“The human voice is the ultimate transducer of emotion” he explains. “I feel it, I sing it, the listener hears it, the listener feels it. Even the slightest vocal can carry a heavy emotional current. Adding words is creating another layer of meaning again, sometimes altering, sometimes reinforcing the intrinsic feeling of the music.”
The title ‘Love Over Will’ is a play on “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the law, love under will”, the central tenet of Thelema, created by famed occultist and ceremonial magician Aleister Crowley, with the central thread of the album being “a statement on the times we are living in, but with an optimism relating to ways forward that are possible”. Also Menzies’s work has been informed by his ongoing installation work with artist Florence To, primarily on the links between sound and spirituality (ritual music, psychoacoustic effect).
The album’s palette of other worldly strings, distortion, clicks and synths acts as a bed for Menzies’ voice, calling to mind the emotive fragility of Arthur Russell, at times confessional, others loudly declamatory – ‘Love Over Will’ is unquestionably Menzies finest work to date.
On the subject of the artwork: ”Finlay McKay is an old friend and a high-end photographer. I gave him the album, the title and some background and gave him free rein to come up with the image. The album title relates to Thelema, Crowley’s religion for the new age, and Fin’s artwork has clear links to magical thinking. The use of nudity also has something to say of our attitudes to it. Why should nudity and sexuality be shameful, whilst someone being graphically murdered is considered ok? The artwork is a response to the album but also chimes perfectly with the age we live in.”
01. Fair Is Foul
02. Dire Need
06. All My Atoms
07. Yearning Mississippi
08. Love Over Will
11. Astar Mara
12. Star At The Summit
13. Fall Out