And it’s a doozy.
The album, which was released by San Francisco label Left Hand Path, is Butler’s debut full-length, and it follows the artist’s 2017 EP I’m Dropping Out of Life. While that project mixes wobbly, acid-house bass with sticky synths, The Home I’d Build For Myself And All My Friends mines the edges of techno and ambient to brilliant effect.
For Butler, who prefers the non-binary pronouns they/them, a little goes a long way. Their mastery of analog synths is evident; they don’t need to rely on massive drops or drastic beat changes. In Butler’s world, subtle rhythmic tweaks — a rising synth, or a fading kick drum — have huge results, like in their mid-tempo track “These Seeds.” Just when the song’s twinkling synths seem to burn out, a subtle bass line rises from beneath the kick drum, breathing new life into the song’s final minutes.
Perhaps Butler’s greatest skill lies in their ability to mix diverse rhythms into techno. According to an article in the East Bay Express, Butler grew up in Bermuda, an island in the North Atlantic Ocean. The influence of Bermudian music such as Gombey — a dense, rhythmic mix of drum and dance — is most apparent on the album’s chaotic yet hopeful closing track, which is sure to bring those on the dance floor to dizzying heights. From bubbling ambient synth pads to intricately programmed drums, Butler’s always had a knack for fusing fresh sounds into a genre dominated by 4/4 beats, and it’s a skill that they’ve only further fine-tuned here.
A couple weeks ago, Butler tweeted the following:
Another record out, another record without any form of critical review 🤷🏽♀️ at least y’all are buyin it ☺️✌🏽
— Russell E.L. Butler (@RussellELButler) November 30, 2018
If Butler keeps this up, I have a feeling they won’t be needing to tweet stuff like that for long.
Check out the album below and keep an eye on their Twitter for future tour dates.