The Soft Pink Truth | Shall We Go On Sinning So That Grace May Increase? | Thrill Jockey
Release Date: 1 May, 2020
As an acclaimed Shakespearean scholar at Johns Hopkins University with a love for black-metal and electronica; Drew Daniel, known not only under his solo moniker The Soft Pink Truth – but as one-half of electronica duo Matmos – has explored a musical personality throughout the years that grasps (both in his solo work, production, sound design and music with Matmos) our expectations of genre and absolutely shakes it up, flips it on its head; allowing us to follow the artist on a journey that inherently feels very – personal.
With house-covers of black metal and punk tracks almost an impossible thought, the artist has taken a dive into the world of electronic music that is immediately fascinating just by description. With his first release as The Soft Pink Truth in 2003, the artist showcases a beautifully eclectic catalogue of work, and in ‘Shall We Go On Sinning So That Grace May Increase?’ the emotional maturity of the approach to its subject matter shines just as brightly as his continued evolution in his craft of electronic music and genre-bending (and the themes that inspired it). The artist emphasises that although the album began as a response to fascism – the album instead revealed gratitude and a focus on a sense of community.
“The election of Donald Trump made me feel very angry and sad, but I didn’t want to make “angry white guy” music in a purely reactive mode. I felt that I needed to make music through a different process, and to a different emotional outcome, to get past a private feeling of powerlessness by making musical connections with friends and people I admire, to make something that felt socially extended and affirming.”
Tracks such as ‘We’ are a stunning example of Daniel’s intimate and detailed construction of his musical personality in the album – inquisitive, sporadic electronic droplets open the track as the honeyed delicacy of smooth, tranquil humming drifts gradually into an ambient dreamlike atmosphere; sultry harmonies caress one another as they float fluidly through a lush soundscape – and segue effortlessly into a steady, drumming heartbeat.
The driven beat pulses between the ebb and flow of swelling synthesizers and idyllic, natural resonance of melodic chimes and delicate layers of crystalline percussion, sprouting into buoyant claps as the tempo blossoms into a rosy dance; intricately woven layers of texture sculpting a highly immersive aura. Daniel’s seemingly effortless blend of elements from multiple genres sing rich and flourish in the tracks composition; R&B-esque vocal harmonies and jazz-like, soulful passion shimmer vividly in the deep-house beats, the intricate blend of inspiration sculpting a distinct beautifully and mesmerising experience.
Singling out tracks on the record is incredibly difficult as the entire album itself feels like a living, breathing entity – or perhaps an ethereal, welcoming space to inhabit as listeners. Each track on the album works in symbiosis – presenting us with elements so bright, refreshing and hypnotic in a multitude of ways; whether it’s the intricately woven, fluid and loving presentation of multiple genres woven with detailed gossamer textures – or Daniels ability to create an extremely unique sanguine realm of his own: ‘Shall We Go On Sinning So That Grace May Increase?‘ is definitely a stand out album from 2020 so far. The ease in which one is able to get lost in each composition, and specifically the album as whole, is unearthly.
Rating: 9 / 10
Feature Image: Drew Daniel by Josh Sisk
Review by Jenna Dreisenstock