ALBUM REVIEW: Outputmessage – Autonomous
by Marcus K. Dowling
Washington, DC by way of Queens, NY electronic dance music producer Outputmessage is likely one of the more underrated EDM artists in the genre. The eight year veteran has received terrific acclaim both stateside and abroad for his musically dense but pop trending melodies awakening a sense of early 80s synth pop sounds. However, with his LP Autonomous, Outputmessage seems to have found the balance between masterful instrumentation and pure pop sensibility and has honed his sound into its most commercially viable form ever.
The album, which took two years to complete, is an earnest and personal account of the artist’s various lifelong struggles. The record serves as reflection, and completes as a positive resurgence of a damaged human soul in the face of harrowing human experiences. Love, suicide and other causes of emotional pain are handled on the release without any nod to letting the strife remain internal, instead each song serves as a release of tension, the album listening more like therapy than the exquisite minimal disco house trending dance tracks they seem on the surface.
The key to this release is the addition of vocals from the producer. Multi-talented as a musician, Outputmessage extends these talents to voice as his vocals on this most personal of releases. There are tracks here like “N.Y.R.,” the hook, “I asked you to stay but you decided to go,” when passed through a vocoder becomes far far far more haunting and hollow, the soul of the man that lost his friend echoing into the breaks, easily one of the signature sounds of the producer’s career and one with possibilities of legs in the mainstream. “Get Away” as well is stellar, pop vocals laid over strings and synths, as always, as is the standard and expectation of Outputmessage, an understated elegance in the expression.
When an artist takes the time to truly delve into the realm of the personal and has the innate gift of understanding how to produce their own reality into song and maximize the impact of the emotions, great things typically happen. This album from top to bottom is excellent. Tracks like “I Remember,” “Glintz” and “Undone” are all magical expositions of human passion in electro pop form. If in any way ever wondering whatever happened to the phenomenal and genre defining compositions of bands like New Order, they’re more than present and accounted for in Autonomous. The vocal and songwriting economy blended with the complex yet sonorous and now more than accessible pop rhythms makes this album one with tracks that are certain to be cornerstones of this year in electronic dance music.