Gatekeeper's new record, which is being released on Hippos in Tanks July 17, opens with a dawning sunbreak sound not so different from the noise used to test the hot new Dolby Surround Sound in movie theaters in the '90s, so one would not be mistaken in thinking that it was going to be a droney, meditative album. That is wildy incorrect. Other than the first few seconds, there are very few meditative moments here; EXO is what it must sound like to lick the inside of a LCD flatscreen monitor.
At a certain point we must concede that we are actually living in the future, almost exactly as predicted by the mainstream media from the '50s all the way through to the mid '90s. Did we create a self-fulfilling prophecy of girls with green and pink hair, pocket computers that can access a worldwide database containing all of man's collected information, and music that sounds so electronic that any potentially “natural” sound coming from it has that texture encoded and built by some sort of synthetic human-sound-making machine? Not to say that any of this is a bad thing, of course. It's great! It's everything we ever wanted, except hoverboards! (Oh, those are in production. Nevermind.) We don't have to answer the questions of what this all means or whatever. It's fine.
EXO shudders with the sexuality of the future. Songs in the middle of the record, like “Hydrus”, have a distinctly lingual component. You can imagine the duo of Aaron David Ross and Matthew Arkell licking the ends of 9-volt batteries, split ends of copper wire, anything around that would transmit the feeling of the tongue into a digital format. The album starts out in the world of heavy house, but it doesn't maintain the adderall tempo, thank goodness; the beginning of later tracks like Dromos is building on almost a '90s R&B component. But any influence, be in from Detroit, Hyrule, or dystopian Los Angeles, is thoroughly masked under a thick layer of pixellated hubris. It's probably important to note, at this point, that the record is being released in tandem with a fully-formed gaming environment designed by Tabor Rabak, along with a font by the same. This value-added-product of a record is working overtime to make sure that its listeners are completely consumed.