Listencorp review image of another mind by sage hardware

Another Mind

Sage Hardware


Liam Murphy

June 26, 2020

Tracks in this feature

Tracks in this release

A slow austere fade in of sound begins Another Mind. A reversed voice quickly calibrates its delivery, becoming a well-spoken British person lecturing the listener on the study of the universe. The voice is didactic at first, telling us we will never understand the secrets of how this existence came to be. But as Sage Hardware bathes the background in heartbreaking euphoria, we are reassured that there is something, some part of us, that is aware of the great truths of life. The track perfectly sets a tone of self awareness, the instrumentation both fragile and stretched simultaneously.

The lethargy of the introduction is blown away as rapid DnB snares and cymbals fire out in Ephemerality. Gentle arpeggiations flutter and spread like an endless peacock tail. A calm voice tells us to leave a phone message, stuttering and glitching at the end of the instruction. Connection seems to be a key element already, the introduction spoke of one’s connection with the earth and universe around them, where as this track focuses on the short, sharp connections we make on a daily basis and how they have a life-changing potential hidden within them. A vocal screams out into the noisy tumult, bringing the intense percussion to a sudden stop. Sage Hardware fits this high octane energy into whatever format they see fit, moving from a fairly relaxed synth wave pace back into a rapid-fire rhythm, and then into a euphoric break in percussion. Themes of relaxation are presented through the lyrics and new age pads, only to be uprooted with screaming vocals and hyperactive drum sequencing.

Our connection with media; seems to be the area of interest in Edge of Life. That beautifully poignant soundbite from Sidney Lumet’s Network begins the track, the character Howard Beale’s call to arms to the viewing public. From there an emotive descending chord progression takes the track forward, that junglist percussion still clinging on from the last track. A charged bassline makes the beat a little more explicit. Once again, the atmosphere is decimated with the entrance of screaming vocals, the surroundings seem to become galvanised into screeching electronic activity.

Depakote drunkenly stumbles into the album, a slightly detuned synth tune lays groundwork underneath a friendly infomercial voice speaking about mental health issues. The two-sides of the album battle once again. This austere, introverted sensibility attempts to hold its own against an unstoppable, ridiculously stimulated energy. The instrumentation glitches as a performative vocal spits excitedly. At no point does the artist leave the listener in the lurch. We are picked up, thrown around like a rag doll, but never abandoned by Sage Hardware. Instead the artist introduces changes in pace and style with coolness that is hard not to follow along with.

[{circles}] glides in with a grave throng of sound, an almost immediate gloom amalgamates around us as Aloysius Christopher Parker tells us about himself and his life. Sage Hardware forms an uncanny atmosphere. This man seems distant and non-violent, but there is an air of unease to it. The torrent of rain that falls behind his voice, the ever moving walls of sound. Squaring this with the more energetic sides of the album is hard, how do the two fit? One can theorise that they both seem to show a negative or hindered state of mind, but they sound so different.

Machines lash out into an echoing space with bursts of feedback that begin to form a percussive track. The melody that slips in as the percussion stops is airy and positive. Whereas the drums sound cold and closed off, the chords accompanying are adventurous and explorative. Contrasting sounds clash into each other as the screaming vocals take over once again. So confident in their delivery, the sound is fresh and unabashedly brisk. The voice seems to delight in blindsiding the listener, dizzying them with a fit of frantic vocals. Before we can collect our thoughts, we fall down an endless wormhole of warm synth and fast, trappy beats.

Bruxism explodes with shapeshifting machinery and automated vocals. The sounds that fill the mix abrasive, Sage Hardware seems to carry out this prolonged explosion as bursting noise creates a domino effect. A voice tries to give us vital information, cut short by the domineering feedback. A man starts to try and preach that the human race was made by God, only to be swept up in a wave of morphing noise. A fitting tribute to the human race’s connected with and understanding of its creator.

Sage Hardware infiltrates a friendly N64 platformer at the start of Lunacy (Spiritual Death). Fun buzzing instruments play pixellated, adventurous melodies as passionate vocals singe the positive vibes of the music. Suddenly, we are 37,000 feet in the air. Spacious pads flutter past the window as the pilot announces to us our surroundings. We feel at ease, briefly. The pilot cooly announces that he is in possession of a .357 caliber firearm. The plane, the pilot and his gun all disappear as the artist cushions our jump through time. Ghostly, choral voices appear all around us, and a melody takes over that is full of uncertainty and tinged with pain. As it fades, we hear the pilot again. We’ve found consciousness again in this strange nightmare of a plane, speeding through the air with two gun-toting men at the helm.

Re:Birth once again brings that jungle energy, accompanied by an intense vocal performance. Fairly calming, synths mixed with searing screams. The instrumentation begins to speed up, building up pace whilst also trying to maintain this laidback quality. Though the album has dealt with feelings of detachment and disconnection, its these explosive songs that feel the most happy. The melody always gleaming with light, the drums excitedly stamping hard against the music. Sage Hardware, when not delivering forlorn, sunless introversions, sends us careering through high-powered, rapid bursts of energy.

The album finishes with a remix of Edge of Life by Dezonator. The artist takes the dark energy instilled in the original and smashes it to the very front of the mix. The dreary melody being pumped toward us by a relentless bass drum. The remix is rough and cataclysmic, harnessing a wild and frantic energy. The screaming voice pitched up until it crepitates uncontrollably. The background consists of this demented steel drum tune, intimidating and clubbable simultaneously. Howard Beale appears at the end, before being swallowed down a corrupted, digital plughole.

Approaching the theme of spiritual connection and the lack thereof is no easy task. The subject matter is one of unfathomable enormity and complexity. The risk of coming off petulant or dramatic is high. Sage Hardware manages to pull it off in Another Mind. Screaming vocals interlock with meteoric percussion and melody. The album has this massively enjoyable explorative feeling to it, as the artist pulls on a mixture of styles to lead the listener further into the depths of this detached plane. With thoroughly thoughtful delivery and impressive singing, Sage Hardware is able to showcase another world in near perfect definition.