“αριθμός τέσσερα” by Culprate – Album Review

“αριθμός τέσσερα” means “Number Four” in Greek to signify Culprate’s 4th album release. It also means I must give this album ★★★★☆

This album has a ton of variety despite only being seven tracks long. Throughout the entire album, natural instrumentation blends with electronic sound to create a wide variety of musical landscapes. Much of the sound mixes western music ideas with non-western music, making for something unique.

“Koloni (MaiTai)” offers a more traditional drum and bass sound that’s easier to categorize, but still sounds incredibly strange. The first half of the track has super heavy percussion. It feels very cold, like being swept through a rushing river under a solid sheet of ice. There are synthetic electronics working alongside live recorded sounds, but what makes this section interesting is how the recorded sounds are even more alien than the electronic sounds.

The second half of the track morphs into something warmer and more soulful with a kalimba taking center stage. The melody it plays and the strings fading in and out of the mix feel bittersweet. For decades, electronic music has grappled with the contrast between the foreign and the concrete. Here, it is executed masterfully.

The next track, “Fly,” takes a completely different turn. This track is why I’m hesitant to call “αριθμός τέσσερα” an electronic music album. “Fly” begins with several layers of beautiful acoustic guitar. It’s a complex and fantastical composition. Piano and strings enter, turning up the grandiosity before approaching a musical edge, staring out into the abyss, and doing the only thing that should be done: a stunning guitar solo. After hearing two drum and bass songs, the last thing I expected was a (mostly) acoustic instrumental movement. Even more unexpected, is just how good it was.

“The Psychology of James Berland” is a fine piece of fusion sandwiched between more DnB. There are great instrumental sections from slap bass, electric piano, guitar, which move from different flavors of jazz while relentlessly hurrying forward.

“जलाना (Jalaana),” meaning “to burn” in Hindi, is an incredibly interesting track. Immediately, the Indian musical influences are apparent. The sitar and powerful vocal chants waste no time in evoking a huge landscape. In the background, electronic sound lurks, but they never show their full form until the full drop into bass. The vocals are chopped, and the Indian folk drums are incorporated into complex, stuttering rhythmic patterns that change pulse at a whim.

After hearing this track, the accomplishment of this album became clear to me: a multitude of mashed up musical styles and flavors baked into something totally new.

“Muerte De La Dama” is a classical guitar piece with a woodwind finish, and “Nammu” is a drum and bass track with a saxophone solo. By the end of the album the surprises keep on coming. It never stays in one place, and always has a fresh new idea around the corner.

“αριθμός τέσσερα” is the most delicious musical buffet I’ve been to in a while. It’s one of my favorite albums of the year. I recommend it to any adventurous music listener looking for something new. Strong ★★★★☆ – Great Album.