Circus Around by Akroama

Akroama is a new and upcoming musician who is currently releasing his 2nd EP Circus Around under the independent record label Doner Music. Whilst maintaining the electronic style of his prior EP, Under the SkinCircus Around moves away from experimental, ambient music to a more pop-orientated vibe. This reflects an aim to target a more mainstream audience. Listening to the first single “Humans” (feat. Alex Anderson) suggests this transition has been a challenge for Akroama. But his background in ambiance certainly comes through in this new track, and provides it with a unique edge that draws you into the listening experience.

The track opens with warm synth tones that have an almost “epic” feel. This then settles into the organesque melody that is repeated throughout the rest of the track and becomes the recognisable tune. We are launched into the song with verve but reach an anticlimax as the vocals begin; this does seem to be a recurring issue within Akroama’s work. On his prior EP, Under the Skin, many tracks are arguably flat with a weak sense of story running through them as they progress.

The two together certainly makes an impact on the listener

At the same instant as the vocals begin, a drum beat is introduced. The two together certainly makes an impact on the listener, however the collision makes it a difficult to hear the lyrics clearly. In addition, the drum beat is all over the place; its slow pace matches the vocals’ relaxed, colloquial tone but overall gives the track a jarring quality as, in their timing, the two are out of sync. The middle of the track does evolve somewhat. The synth is playful and the vocals become more robotic and static-like. This is where Akroama’s ambient background becomes most evident as the track takes on a dream-like and surreal quality with many repeating motifs. I can imagine this song being played in a club as a break from the faster dance beats, however as something simply to listen to it is quite uncomfortable. Akoroama has certainly not chosen a light subject matter as “Humans” discusses the concept of “the perfect human.” This is a topic that is better illustrated through the accompanying video.

The second single “Circus Around” seems less experimental than “Humans” and is a more comfortable listening experience as a result. The harmony is more melodic throughout, although the track begins with a series of static and a low hum which creates a sense of unease. The strong bass gives the impression that this track would fit comfortably into a club atmosphere and fill the space with ease. The focus here has returned to the synth and the overall sound of the track, hence it feels much more like a coherent piece than “Humans.”

The differences between these two tracks, and an overall comparison to the previous EP Under the Skin, shows that this is an artist in development. He may be making some mistakes but he is proving bold enough to try out new styles. It may take time for this bravery to pay off, but it will be interesting to see where his musical journey takes him.

Circus Around – EP will be released in September.