Another Life is the debut album from Amnesia Scanner released in September of 2018. The Berlin-based duo formed Amnesia Scanner in 2014 and consists of Ville Haimala and Martti Kalliala , who have both remained fairly anonymous until the release of this album last year. You may have heard of them from someone mentioning their utilization of anonymous voice samples purchased via cryptocurrency, seizure inducing strobes, or deconstructed club music. Some of that obscure cryptocurrency backed voice work can be heard in their Boiler Room set, as a voice reads passages from The Oracle: Ancient Delphi and the Science Behind Its Lost Secrets and lyrics from Papa Roach - “Last Resort.” Their logo is seemingly an inverted take on the Alibaba logo, their website is the equivalent of jumping head first down the rabbit hole, and they still manage to keep us on our toes with bizarre tactics. Good luck deciphering the glyphs while browsing their website, and be careful, because you might land on the page /chaos. Despite the cryptic fog that enshrouds Amnesia Scanner, their first full-length release, Another Life, blends deconstructed club music and audible chaos, all while surprisingly finding a balance. Industrial buzzing synths and impending baselines are at times influenced by hardstyle and nu-metal, but the occasional break in chaos allows for reflection upon the dystopian madness.
Another Life opens with “AS Symmetribal.” The track feels suiting for the intro to History Channels Vikings if it were to have taken place in the year 2089. Vibrating bass, static synths, and echoing war-cries, which may or may not actually be a human voice, we’ll touch on that later. The balance between chaos and serene environments surface as an underlying theme of the album, but it’s a matter of whether it works or not. The track “AS A.W.O.L” is filled with pulsating vocals, echoing chimes and wrist snapping snares. What one would imagine to be an immediate contrast, Amnesia Scanner manages to fuse the primary elements of the track together with various layers of subtleties, creating an aggressive but euphoric club track.
The album as a whole only features two artists, one being PAN labelmate Pan Daijing. She’s featured on the impending bass-filled “AS Unlinear,” and moshpit inducing “AS Chaos.” The latter tends to follow suit of a high-energy grime track, with Pan Daijing blending Mandarin and English in an aggressive chant “All around you it’s just chaos, chaos, chaos.” Having delved into genres of noise and techno in the past with her 2015 release Sex & Disease, she tends to fit right into the general vibe of this chaotic album.
Oracle is the second artist featured on the album, making an appearance on "AS Spectacult.” This track seems to offer roughly three minutes of reflection on the six previous tracks of the album. Either that or the previous six years of your life, and all the mistakes that follow. Oracle has been explained by Amnesia Scanner to be a stack of software, an inhuman entity. You read that correctly, Oracle is just a software stack, not a human being. A software stack wooing you with electric cries of despair. The track radiates with gentle horns and what only sounds like bagpipes emerging from a dark void. It’s tracks like this that really break away from the aggressive high-energy flow of the album, rich with deep and euphoric sounds. The tracks that tend to take the ambient route really stand out when taking a step back to look at the contrast throughout the album. Immediately being drawn towards them seems natural, as they’re the breaks in all the chaos that Amnesia Scanner has created and sometimes people just need a break.
Another Life is more refined and crisp than Amnesia Scanners’ previous work. The production tends to be better and without a doubt they have grown as artists, but does it live up to their previous work? Tracks from their 2016 release, AS EP, such as “AS WANT IT” really helped define the duo for their unique sound. Repetitively bending the phrase “want it” in different pitches, accompanied by echoing synths and loud, aggressive industrial drums. Their 2017 followup, AS TRUTH, is an excellent 15 minute “mixtape” that develops into an explosive soundscape filled with vocal samples manipulated beyond recognition. Both their 2016 and 2017 release really integrated obscure sound design into club music, but Another Life seems to take a step back and only utilize it when necessary. Another Life is a step towards a different path that really shines the light on their ventures into avant-garde electronic music.
It becomes clear the duo has matured, as Another Life seems to be really honed in on creating an experience as a whole. The album somehow makes sense when listened to as a whole, one track setting the stage for the next, all without the slightest need of transitions. The clash in sounds and tempos all melt together, unfolding into some cryptic cyberspace love story. “AS Rewild” brings closure to this strange 40 minute journey. The track is filled with oscillating strings and layers of radiating synths as cries of sadness echo, all bringing an end to the chaos that previously ensued. The album provokes the thought of these sounds and the voice of Oracle, leaving the question of how this will all sound 100 years from now. Another Life introduces us to a digitally rendered dystopian world created by Amnesia Scanner themselves, leaving us immersed in this world, and surprising us when it can be navigated it with ease.