The experimental electronic pop trio occurrence have returned with their most ambitious work yet, the 22-track album "Slow Violence." While their music blends electronic beats and synth textures with a nostalgic pop sensibility, "Slow Violence" presents their sound in its most vibrant and dynamic form yet. Each member of the trio has outdone themselves, with Ken Urban on electronics, synths & beats, Cat Hollyer on vocals & flute, and Johnny Hager on vocals.
The album opens with the deceptively mellow "Blossom Forth," its acoustic guitar strumming and Cat’s cooing vocals initially giving the impression of a reflective ballad. But as layered beat programming, shimmering synth, and more harmonies unfold, the song blooms forth into a sensational display of sonic possibility. "Survive, Die Faster" introduces iterative synth patterns that twinkle and scintillate, engrossing the listener within its labyrinthine beatwork. Overtop, Hollyer, and Hager's vocals navigate the twitching electronics with acrobatic grace.
"You're Not A Miracle" taps into a vintage synthpop sound, its keys and buoyant bassline evoking nostalgia for '80s sci-fi soundtracks. Propelled by a pounding beat, the song is a pulsing embodiment of technological wonder.
Standout track "This Isn't What I Imagined" prominently features Hollyer's flute, its airy melodies weaving amidst soulful tenor vocals and despondent synth washes. Despite its melancholic ambience, the song's meticulously crafted production results in a cozy and introspective listening experience.
Throughout the album, occurrence balance avant-garde experimentation with populist accessibility, culminating on the anthemic "The Future Pt.1." Layers of soaring synth pads, pulsing kick drums, and chanted vocals coalesce into a dramatically cinematic soundscape, perfect for losing oneself on the dance floor.
"November 30, 2014" descends into a dramatical dystopia of glitching beats and distorted bass. For a brief moment, the song descends into silence before Hager proclaims "I love you more than anyone," investing the phrase with hollow desperation.
"Water Into Ocean" has a sinuous saxophone melody, its lines unfurling and coiling like watery tendrils. Amidst synth pulses and Cat’s breathy vocals, the sax creates a dreamy and somewhat disorienting sonic landscape. The track evokes the feeling of drowning within the depths of the subconscious. "Anonymous Data Call" introduces funky, clipped beats, synth stabs, and Hollyer's singing. Her lyrical wordplay and rhythmic flow moves with grace. The song balances weird abstraction and dexterous skill, pinnacling in a satisfying listening experience. "I Fucked the World to Get You to Love Me" layers glitchy beats, paired-down synth melodies, and hushed vocal harmonies into a phenomenal aura.
I have to confess, I fell utterly immersed within the dazzling galaxy of sounds that is occurrence's "Slow Violence." This album is an endlessly blossoming sonic universe, filled with mysteries and pleasures around every corner. Across its numerous tracks, "Slow Violence" weaves a sprawling yet cohesive web of sound that never fails to enthrall. From intimate introspection to ecstatic release, occurrence's masterful production, and genre-bending songwriting transform the everyday into the extraordinary. "Slow Violence" is a towering monument of innovative electronic music, and I am forever grateful to have delved within its flashy, otherworldly sounds. This is an album that nurtures a lifelong obsession, do not miss the opportunity to delve into its sound. Stream it and follow the trio.