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autre ne veut - anxiety (cd)

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ARTIST // autre ne veut
LABEL // software (us)
CAT // sft013cd


Daniel Lopatin's project as Oneohtrix Point Never has often split the difference between noisy experimentalism and contorted day-glo pop, illuminating a world that has been surprisingly rich. While previous releases on Software Recordings, the label run by Lopatin and his partner Joel Ford, have only represented one side of the equation (i.e. Tim Hecker and Pete Swanson), that will undoubtedly change with Autre Ne Veut's sophomore full-length. Arthur Ashin, the name behind the Autre Ne Veut moniker, boldly channels sleek and streamlined R&B with songs, such as "Ego Free Sex Free" and "I Wanna Dance With Somebody," that leave little to the imagination. Just a few short years ago Ashin was recording albums at home for Olde English Spelling Bee; now, with "Anxiety," Autre Ne Veut has all the directness of a big budget studio album that is sure to change the trajectory of his project as well as Software Recordings. Ryan Potts, Experimedia
Anxiety is the full-length follow up to Autre Ne Veut's 2010 self-titled debut, which was for many the definitive post-millennial Failure Pop statement outside of time and style. Autre Ne Veut rivaled other lovelorn "missteps" such asMarvin Gaye's Here My Dear and Big Star's Sister Lovers. If you didn't hear the connection, you weren't listening closely enough.

Be that as it may, ANV brazenly decided to make it easier for people with his post-canonical return. No longer playing the role of pauper or king, Anxiety is simply his high definition arrival. Born April 20th, 1982 Arthur Ashin is the first of two children and the only son of American ex-patriots living in rural Kenya. He's struggled with minor bouts of depression throughout his life, but a year of intensive psychoanalysis helped Arthur to realize that anxiety was at the crux of his problems.

Anxiety is in some sense Ashin closing a chapter on his adolescence through song-form depictions of his own relationship struggles and ecstasies. There are club bangers on Anxiety, for sure; "Counting" a cybernetic sea shanty tips its hat toTimbaland, and opening track "Play By Play" rolls out like a slowly evolving Top 40 operetta with nods to Dr. Luke andPatti LaBelle in equal measure. But when experienced as a whole, there is an unfolding sense of confession to Anxiety.

Like a collection of photographs, each featuring our anti-hero surrounded by lovers, friends, and family and, ultimately, the world, Ashin himself is peripheral to the action. He is always a little too aware of the joke, laughing at the wrong time.

The influences on Anxiety range from David Byrne to Lee "Scratch" Perry, Laurie Anderson and Annie Lennox to Katy Perry and Rihanna. But Arthur's primary influence - and the influence most evident in his music - is of karaoke- the solitary person singing along with their favorite song. In karaoke we get to be someone bigger than who we usually are. When we sing karaoke or when we sing in the shower, we get to be gods; gods with bars of soap, gods with plastic cups in our hands.