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Very little trace can be found online about AQAXA’s persona. A few snapshots, some lines here and there, and one EP. The German artist’s debut EP, ‘Corporeal’. Conceived during the COVID pandemic, AQAXA seeks to present itself as something that is, and isn’t. A duality, stemming from the same well, diverging only under the prism of our individual interpretations.
‘Corporeal’, his debut on Punch Up Records, feels complex and intricate, yet warm and intimate. As they intersect in an ethereal realm, it’s a communion between man and AI, created out of fragmented memories. A crystal-clear labyrinth, where reflections of what once was get lost, only to be replicated over and over again until all original meaning is gone. Resignified. AQAXA’s ‘Corporeal’ is what happens when we try to bathe twice in the same river.
Opener ‘Algorzn Luvv’ is born out of dark and gritty, broken beat, metallic clicks and heavily processed vocals, generating a dystopic atmosphere that resides somewhere between today and yesterday. Tension builds and dissipates with no discernable warning, as the AI disrupts patterns as soon as they can be identified as such. Meanwhile, sparse melodic interventions breathe life into the controlled chaos, like precious moments caught in oblivion itself.
Treading across light and darkness, in ‘Xennial Sehnsucht’, AQAXA paints an exotic mind palace where the artist’s own phantoms reside. Here, low-end growls, stabs and drones, all drenched in reverb lay the foundations for a staircase that descends deep into his subconscious, as we are presented with a never-ending slideshow of events that could have been. A menagerie of endless possibilities that are, after all, intrinsically impossible.
The last original cut by AQAXA, ‘Knee-Jerk Drifter’, feels like a sensorial overload, reminiscent of a crashing system. It’s the inflection point, built on the premise of action/reaction. A breathtaking myriad of pictures traversing across a computer that can barely process information. Diving deeper than its counterparts, ‘Knee-Jerk Drifter’ still somehow manages to burn brighter. This is the ghost in the machine. It’s where we come to be reminded of the eternal question: What does it mean to be alive?
Rounding out the package, Frieder Nagel takes on ‘Xennial Sehnsucht’, reimagining the pensive cut into a wailing sea of synthesizers that expand and contract at sheer will, shifting unchecked and retconning the past like a digital sandstorm designed somewhere on the streets of Berlin during a harrowing winter night.
More than just music, or an insight into how the mind of AQAXA operates, ‘Corporeal’ is the perfect depiction of artificial intelligence coming to life. It is a bold experiment that sees lines blurred to present its listeners with a glimpse into the, almost certain, near future of electronic music.
AQAXA’s ‘Corporeal’ EP is out now via Punch Up Records. Purchase your copy here.
- Algorzn Luvv
- Xennial Sehnsucht
- Knee-Jerk Drifter
- Xennial Sehnsucht (Frieder Nagel Rework)