It’s difficult to inject emotion and feeling into instrumental music, and it’s difficult to impart soul into music made entirely on a computer. Max Fry’s voice is Massive and his heart is Ableton, but what shines through his speakers and into your ears is organic and lively, synthy and brassy, filled with misguided expectations and unknowable retrospectives.
The Disconnected EP is his first release. It’s certainly a child of the new wave of electronic music brought into the mainstream by Flume, but it brings something new to a genre whose sounds have in many cases become predictable. An unapologetic dedication to sidechaining and hyper-syncopated drum rhythms under the umbrella of a “future beat” influence make for some genuinely great music, which has the rare quality of being able to surpass genre biases.
“I knew at the beginning of the summer that I wanted it to have a disconnected feeling,” Max says. “None of the songs are the same emotion.”
“I started making tracks and would get about halfway done, and if I didn’t emotionally connect with the song at that point I would scrap it. I wanted the music to be much more about the melody and chords than the actual production itself. In my opinion, the music that people can emotionally connect to will continue to sound good even when that genre is out of style.”
Disconnected is by no means perfect. Those intangible qualities which great artists have that make their music irresistible aren’t fully developed yet, and there’s still a sense of incompleteness in some of the tracks- the feeling that some small unnameable thing is missing.
But, despite that, it’s good. It’s really, really good. There’s color and life in the sounds and in the way they fall into each other. The word to describe it, strangely enough for plastic music, is organic. It feels like a part of you, like something in yourself you couldn’t really enunciate until you heard it stated.
The final track samples a soliloquy from the film Ex Machina.
“If that test is passed, you are dead center of the greatest scientific event in the history of man.”
“If you’ve created a conscious machine, it’s not the history of man. That’s the history of gods.”
The beat rises, eerie, and then a sudden word: “hello.”
Max Fry is bringing consciousness into artificial music. He’s moving away from the roots of electronic music, which embraced the inorganic nature of their sound (think Kraftwerk’s The Robots, or Darude’s seminal Sandstorm) and into a new realm: he’s creating synthetic life, rising out of the evolutionary mire of Cubase and into the new generation and the future.