Thug Entrancer (AKA Ryan McRyhew) is Software‘s latest effort to rethink or change the electronic music landscape. They are releasing the debut of the Chicago-by-way-of-Denver musician’s Death After Life on February 11, a serious dance record intended to experiment and meditate on the TR-808. What’s interesting about the release is it’s clever monotony: it features eight songs called “Death After Life” along with bonus cuts “Ready To Live,” a two part song. All the sounds are coming out of the same pool of 808s but feel particularly polished and new, perhaps what the new life being suggested in the title is.
Lead single “Death After Life I” very much makes this idea known especially paired with its accompanying video. Created by Milton Melvin Croissant III, the video is a funny look at a dystopian future plagued by a black, shaggy haired skull. It’s full of moving parts and anthropomorphic circuits that you can travel in and out of to reveal new worlds. There isn’t really a comparison to the video outside of being like the movie A.I. short circuiting into the retrofuture, thanks to cameos from Sega Dreamcasts, the coexist symbol, and more late twentieth century touchstones. The song is a steely, faux-trumpet and faux-drum rhythm study that feels more academic than it does club ready.
That’s fine: that is where dance music has landed itself now, in the minds instead of the feet, thanks to persons like Holly Herndon and Software alumn Oneohtrix Point Never. Thug Entrancer certainly has a lot of musical tricks up the sleeve and, if you dig this, you’ll have to grab the upcoming release. It’s one of the strongest releases of 2014 thus far. Watch the video for “Death After Life I” below.