Young-blooded Johannesburg-based house & techno producer Avation is carving out a name for himself on…
A bold space odyssey through the aural history of the rave days, ‘Pushover Mankind’ signals Phil ‘Moonface’ Thompson’s first self-released album that explores grandiose planes as we warp through vivid memories of infinite futures build around our collective history. Containing 16 tracks divided into two parts, an ambient entrance that paves the way for club-driven moments, ‘Pushover Mankind’ might just be Phil’s most ambitious creation to date.
Our journey begins shrouded in futuristic visions traversing through our eyes in the midst of our suspended animation process, ‘Agenda’ sees synths swell and crash against each other as a skitterish beat comes forth, cutting through the static. With our cognitive senses still firing up, ‘Spiritflow’ conjures stabs that color rising pads like petrol on water, iridescent, glowing with self-contained magic, mesmerizing us as we are taken to a safe passage on the other side of the shore.
Phil’s proposal for the third track is to ‘Sit Back, Relax’. Here, the producer synthesizes a cavernous landscape, drenched in reverb, where eerie sequences flash before our very eyes before the machinery stabilizes. ‘This Is An Experiment’ sees audio transmissions resume, coming through in waves from nearby planets as they playback against ticking clocks and thrusters that propel us to aural sentiments unheard so far.
‘Free’ comes as a revelation of sorts that sounds imperatively important, but as the drugs kick in, it becomes indecipherable and we let go until the acid synth lines catch us, dragging us down to an enchanting landscape that sways between darkness and glimpses of hope. By the time we try to make sense of it all, a rip of a bong distorts our surroundings even further as a dubbed out bassline pushes us into a hazy beat coming from ‘Like A Dutch Forest’, taking us from room to room in search of god knows what, only driving our descent further into madness.
Non-sensical images from our earthly life surface laced around a playful lead line continue to play out in ‘Du Get Me’. Quirky, like a toddler learning to walk for the first time, the whole imagery takes on a familiar face, as we are tucked in by the warmth of the chirping birds outside the window. We’ve made it to our ‘Last Days Holidays’. Here, drones lead us through dense vegetation to our destination. A new settlement, as we are initiated by ancient rites that weigh down on us, soothing our aches while we give in to the knowledge of a higher presence.
The second part of the journey works as an injection, waking us up from our suspended animation, thrusting us past the doors of a retro-futuristic expression, fueled by raves of yesteryear. ‘No Matter’, Moonface’s first of these club-driven creations, is heavy on the groove, showcasing a bouncing bassline and warm strings that contrast against the robust frame, setting listeners up for delicious freefalling plucks that tug at our most heartfelt memories.
Following up, ‘Picture This’ rolls on cool hand percussion, acid tingles, and blips that allow for glistening synth swirls to create luscious wormholes that warp us through infinite universes as the artist shows us every corner of his personal space. Continuing with the probing experiments, Moonface unleashes ‘Sound Wizard’, another tripped-out affair, this time cemented on restless synthetic percussion and drones that surround us in a haze, compelling us to move our feet down to ‘Just An 808’. Presenting a dark, techno frame, ‘Just An 808’ is cavernously gritty, creating an auspicious ambiance for an infectiously acidic lead line as we feel the electricity surging through the powerlines. By the halfway line, pads that shine down from the skies bless us with a moment of tranquility, allowing us to breathe it all in before the journey for a new home, a new horizon, continues.
Past this, ‘After The Dance’, sniffs and lines take us for a second ride as a throbbing groove comes out of nowhere, coercing listeners as flowing stabs hang in the air like a calling that unwinds at the middle in an Aphex Twin-style mindbending breakdown, resuming in full force for one of the most interesting moments found on ‘Pushover Mankind’. The follow-up, ‘TwentyTen’ comes down flowing on heavy rolling percussion, a solid low end, wailing fly-bys, and tubular stabs that expand and grow, subduing ravers under its narcotic effect.
The last stretch of the marathon finds Moonface telling us to ‘Spend It When Your Dead’. In this vision, alien synth probes flail around in deep space, dissected by acid stabs, bending synth lines, and outer space transmissions from neighboring galaxies. Since every journey must come to an end, ‘Lockdub’ is uploaded into our screens. Electric from the onset, metallic clanks turn a steaming machine into full force, unleashing an old school rave-like corrosive lead that burrows in our heads like an earworm, forcing its way in as it looks for shelter from the shitstorm its world has become.
‘Pushover Mankind’ by Moonface is out now. Grab your copy here.