Peder Mannerfelt & Pär Grindvik’s Aasthma invite Jonnine and Gavsborg, among others, for a sick debut album of skewed, stadium-size EDM-pop and club smashes woven with intricate sound design.
After an introductory trio of mutant rave 12”s in 2019, Aasthma return, galvanised with hi-EDM-pop sheen and stacked melodies for a more ambitious sound that draws as much from Peder Mannerfelt’s work on Fever Ray records as his and Pär Grindvik’s shapeshifting electronic tekkerz. In a strong sense ‘Arrival’ is effectively a new iteration of hi-tech Swedish dance-pop for the 2020s, summoning the spirits of UK hardcore rave and its trip hop offshoots thru a glossy production prism that winks at Eric Prydz, Avicii and Max Martin, while seamlessly kneading in aspects of footwork, industrial dancehall and hypeR&B-pop. Quite understandably it arrives on Modeselektor’s label, and shares much of the German duo’s thrust toward bigger sound staging, only less fruity and crisply rudely puckered.
One would be forgiven for mistaking the opening arp spiral of ‘Fall Beyond the Sun’ for MDSLKTR’s own work, such is its big room scale of grandeur, but the duo neatly temper their enthusiasm with HTRK’s Jonnine found low in the mix over the Reese-bass hangglyder ‘It’s Just Your Style’, plus the remarkable appearance of Equiknoxx’s Gavsborg in goth mode on the mutant industrial dancehall strut of ’Nod’, and something like a darkside Ace of Base in ‘Hold Back Love’, while Peder’s patented brand of ‘Power Ambient Piano Ballad’ brings it to an epic, exhausted close. But those bits wouldn’t be as effective without the UP moments which give the album its range, from the chart-gunning hypeR&B of ‘3AM’ feat. Casey MQ to the breakbeat trance drama of ‘Arrival (Fast Forward Into Love)’, the EDM sugar-rush of ‘Lights Out’ with Adam Olenius, and their footwork/D&B-informed ‘We Will Never Change’.