My Cruelty’s full-length Genot Centre release The Secret Weapon sounds like constructivist painting made audible. Though the Russian artist has been inspired by jazz, hip hop and soul, her abstracted dance music sounds rational and calculated; diverse auditory threads move forward with determination, creating a whole that is stark, dynamic and refreshing.
Her online releases reflect a no-nonsense attitude; she introduces herself as “30 year old female producer” and her sounds are often only accompanied by their release date, allowing her music to speak for itself. And while it does sound uncompromising, The Secret Weapon doesn’t lack playfulness – infectious rhythms evoke a cheerful 90’s house feel, resulting in soaring upbeat music that switches gears at the blink of an eye.
Throughout the album catchy 808 synth patterns impel us forward, at times recalling Jean Michel Jarre’s ways of sounding both vintage and progressive. Although the abundant snares and high-hats that populate the album are often nonchalantly timed, this never interferes with a steady rhythmic pulse that gains personality with the interference of abbreviated and witty piano harmonies. Another thing the album definitely doesn’t lack is character; changes in texture allow for a thorough exploration of the agile melodies, that range from polished and high-pitched to gritty and even anarchic at times.
Dabbling with the language of classical composition, My Cruelty’s The Secret Weapon is a glimmering refuge from all things dull. What makes the record irresistible is the way in which My Cruelty experiments her way through it; unexpected twists are looming around every corner, appearing without ever contradicting the overall tone of the album. In this way The Secret Weapon remains breezy, unflinching and warm, leaving us with a minimalist construction that is as contemporary as it is nostalgic.
by Juliet Hoornaert.
The Secret Weapon is out now on Genot Centre. Purchase it here.