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Album Review

Moving away from the minimalist sound of his 2005 debut, Incommunicado, Scottish techno writer/producer Alex Smoke opens up on Paradolia, creating a full-length album that flows logically from track to track, filled with rich, sonically fascinating arrangements and occasional flashes of genuine pop melodies. Smoke occasionally uses the old ambient house trick of barely audible voices adding subtle tension to the tracks (most notably on "A Moment to Myself"), but his use of vocals is more integral than it had been before. The vocal songs on the album use Smoke's voice in very different ways, from the Bowie-like bored croon of "Never Want to See You Again" to the heavily processed overlaid vocals of "Make My Day," but in each, the vocals aren't simply grafted onto prefabricated beats as in so much techno music. Elsewhere, Smoke's classical cello and piano training is the basis for the remarkable, hypnotic "Prima Materia," which sounds like the logical culmination of Arthur Russell's similar experiments in the '80s, and "We Like it Insipid" is instrumental music that's as needling and defiant as its title. Enjoyably varied and perfectly sequenced, Paradolia is one of the most interesting experimental techno releases of its time.

Customer Reviews

mr smoke's minimal house/techno masterpiece

"Paradolia is defined as the human ability to creatively perceive coherent images in randomness."

very nice!

This reminds me a little of Mike Ink only more melodic and less minimal. It's nice to hear some tunes in there with the techno again! I've loved the Soma label for years and it's really cool to see them releasing their newest releases so quickly onto intunes! Those of you who dig this will love the Vector Lovers stuff so be sure to check that as well. And is track seven a homage to Final Fantasy or what?? Oh, a note to AAA who wrote a review about this, asking people to "please understand what techno is before posting a positive review". AAA gave a five star review to Scooter of all things, which is nothing more than a piece of cheesy trance garbage which couldn't be any more removed from the roots of techno. Hey AAA, it's obvious that you are criminally clueless so do YOU want to understand what techno is? If so, I recommend you go and discover the true roots which were planted in Detroit 25 years ago with artists such as Juan Atkins and Derrick May. Don't be so ignorant and think before you attempt to spout your ideas without evidence. This Alex Smoke CD, as a piece of techno, is a classy one and it works. PERIOD.


its not a broken record stuck on autoplay its a different kind of album that all just a whole bunch of different stuff.... I LIKE IT!!!!!


Born: Glasgow, Scotland, UK

Genre: Dance

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Alex Smoke is an acclaimed Glasgow-based techno producer/DJ affiliated most notably with Soma Quality Recordings, as well as his own label, Hum+Haw. Since 2002, he's released dozens of 12"s of glitchy, shuffling minimal techno tracks, as well as a few full-lengths that push his sound into more experimental directions, often incorporating his own vocals, cinematic soundscapes, and the occasional acoustic instrument. Born Alex Menzies to a mother who was a music teacher, he studied classical music...
Full Bio
Paradolia, Alex Smoke
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