The Algorithim - Brute Force
“Algorithm” or, ‘a procedure or formula for solving a problem’ is an apt name for French maestro Remi Gallego to assume, given his tightly wound, mathematical and eye-opening approach to making music. Back around 2009/10, Remi certainly found a solution for my inability to understand the appeal of electronica with his CRITICAL ERROR and Doppler Effect demos – both of which saw Gallego fuse polyrhythmic and heavy grooves with a tapestry of glitch, dubstep, trance and EDM to great effect. Soon enough, The Algorithm’s unique fusion of heavy and dancey opened my eyes to bleeps and bloops galore. Since then, Remi’s bedroom project has developed into somewhat of a phenomenon, with live shows all over the world, touring band members and more money with which to craft less synthetic sounding records.
Only, I haven’t really been a part of it. Polymorphic Code never really resonated with me, despite some promising songs, and Octopus4 only managed to grab my attention for a short period before dropping off my radar. I was too busy, perhaps, exploring the world of music Remi opened up to me to truly go back and appreciate his own work.
Brute Force is the new album from The Algorithm and in my humble opinion is the Frenchman’s best project so far by a considerable distance. The chaotic verve and progressive bent of the demo recordings is back, only this time more restrained (in a good way) to make each section punch or bounce as it should. Sure - there’s no wild experimentation, save for the finale of the Tr0jans remix which closes out the album, or flourishes of insane, glitching saxophone, but neither are there any boring passages. Instead, Remi settles down into a killer, consistent groove which, song-for-song, is as addictive and rewarding as he’s always hinted he can be. There’s just no denying the devastating attack brought forth on floating point, pointers and brute force, songs which act as the fuel to propel the album forward into its more complex second half.
As the black metal inspired conclusion of the title track winds down, more a nod to Emperor than Daft Punk, userspace reveals a side to Gallego’s work which has up until now been largely unexplored; crushing guitars disappear and electronics take over for what is a six minute trek through melancholic cyber-wastes and deep into corrupted headspaces. The organic, delay soaked guitar leads combine magically with various layers of synthesiser worship to make userspace a post-rock song in (electric) sheep’s clothing and a true pleasure to listen to. Sure, the primal, instinctual sound of polyrhythms smashing together works, and works extremely well, all over Brute Force, but it’s this foray into new sonic territory which really clicked for me.
After this point in the record, the gloves really come off and The Algorithm flourishes for the first time as a synergistic electronic and metal musician, rather than being one and poaching elements from the other. In its latter stages, Brute Force takes the listener on a whirlwind tour of dance-genre backdrops and cranks them up to 11, making them harder and heavier whilst still club-ready.
shellcode fires up the now-nostalgic sounds of dubstep before replacing them with a yet still more nostalgic (and very, very welcome) acid-house break ala Aphex Twin’s Drukqs period. The song transitions back into more familiar house/trance territory with a heavier twist for its finale, and ends up being one of the best songs on the disc. On the other end of the scale, deadlock is blindingly heavy, choosing to eschew the synthetic textures of the previous few tracks, and spotlights the unmistakable low end clangour of an 8 string guitar. The penultimate track rootkit, on the other hand, recalls Remi’s early demos the most of any song here and brings his synthwave roots back into sharp focus.
Overall, Brute Force is deceptively titled, being more about finesse than an all-out assault on the senses – by The Algorithm’s standards at least. Remi’s latest effort is, though, a bona-fide fusion of electronic and metal music the likes of which are not often seen. With a vast knowledge of multiple genres of dance and a strong sense of rhythm, Gallego has crafted a work which combines the
organic and the synthetic to a level beyond anything he’s released previously, and will likely be one of the best examples of musical fusion I hear all year. A triumphantly fun, challenging and technical record, Brute Force proves you can push boundaries without interrupting a brilliant formula.
Words: Ben Armstrong