Among today’s monotonous, often regurgitated world of electronic music, it is difficult to find something genuinely fresh. Despite this, Gramatik has harnessed the ability to supply interesting, novel sounds in the realm of electronic music. His most recent effort, The Age of Reason, is no exception.
Trading slower, swung electro jazz pieces for grime, grunge, and a plethora of distortion, Gramatik offers up a heavy-hitting banger of an album. Relentless blues and hard rock improvisations are shoved through your consciousness, washed down with all the glitches, wobs, and drill bit noise of a dubstep album. The album demonstrates Gramatik’s skill as a truly inspired producer, but the endless guitar riff motif becomes tired as the album drags on. That being said, The Age of Reason does not fail to deliver with a surprise when it needs to—just as you thought there was no hope.
One song in it becomes clear that Gramatik is turning up. The Billy Squire-esque glam-dripping banger “Torture” sets the tone for the front end of the album and has you head banging as if you were front row at a Sabbath show. Next, the aptly named “Bluestep” delivers an amalgam of improvised blues riffs and high BPM (beats per minute)-drenched dubstep grime. Stepping into more melodic domain, “Pardon my French” refreshingly delivers a funky hook that sends ethereal grooves through your spine, unconsciously making you squirm in your seat.
Despite all the BPMs and grit at the front end of the album, songs like “We Used to Dream” and “Just Jammin’ NYC” allow for a quick breather and a chance to bask in the brilliantly swung electro jazz styles more reminiscent of Gramatik’s earlier work. On album standout “Get a Grip,” Gramatik recruits vocalist Gibbz for a bass-slapped Disclosure-does-electro-funk track that has you tapping your foot and singing along in an instant. As a whole, The Age of Reason is slightly tired in its monotonous use of droning electro rock, but makes up for this through truly brilliant, catchy productions that prove Gramatik is a leading innovator in the electro scene.