Ariel My Friend – ‘Other Things’

A dynamic tour-de-force in creativity, Other Things is the new album from Ariel My Friend, an artist based in Leipzig, Germany. Psychedelic pop, art-rock, indietronica, and beyond are explored in impressively tactful form, resulting in an album with a satiating range of twists and turns throughout its nearly 80 minutes of runtime. Created over about nine years, Other Things is a standout achievement from the musician, producer, video artist, and performer.

“Reverse” opens the album with a spirited electro-pop pace, as excitable vocals welcome listeners to their personal abode. The central hook to The Smiths’ “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out” appears in surprisingly cohesive form, adding a soaring quality to the escalating synth tones. “My Apathy Glue” follows with a warming, distortion-heavy dose of shoegaze-y lushness; this opening one-two punch is exemplary of Ariel My Friend’s dynamic stylistic and tonal reach, from the perky electro-pop of the opener to this more delectably eerie pursuit into rock, dream-pop, and shoegaze.

Other Things also compels in its ability to swell with structural intrigue; many tracks traverse from understated precision into an exuberant expanse, like on “Chauvinist Bastard” — where bright organs and throbbing bass complement a steady vocal lead, then expand into a chirpy effervescence in the track’s second half. The evolution is seamless and consuming, just as it is on “Our Sorry Love Story” as well. There, booming bass pulses conjoin with glimmering, carnival-like organs with sporadic invigoration. “Sufjan Stevens,” with its evolution from twangy folk minimalism into bustling art-pop theatrics, is another showcase of commanding structural versatility.

The album’s lengthiest effort, “That Ceren Song,” is another embodiment of Ariel My Friend’s knack for gripping twists and turns. Nonchalant vocal feelings and twinkling hypnotics mesh with pit-pattering percussion for an alluring initial sound, gearing into the fervent passion of the “this time I get mine” refrain with impassioned immersion. Cinematic samples flourish thereafter with bursts of nostalgia, culminating in another replay-inducing refrain. The six-minute turn excels in a more danceable realm, where spritzy synth pulses evolve into a glistening, starry-eyed composure. There are an abundance of quality efforts on Other Things, and “That Ceren Song” is among the many highlights.

Other Things is a testament to the artist’s creativity and versatility. The album’s nearly 80-minute journey is marked by meticulous craftsmanship and an impressive range of sonic textures. The genre-hopping is ceaselessly fun, from the vibrant electro-pop energy of “Reverse” to the immersive shoegaze tones of “My Apathy Glue” and the intricate structural evolutions in tracks like “Chauvinist Bastard” and “Our Sorry Love Story.”

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

Send your music to [email protected].

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.