Thane - The Algorithm Isn't Working (Album Review)

You are likely to have found this article based on an algorithm. Ubiquitous in our digital world, algorithms power everything from our entertainment to the administration of our lives and societies. But at what point does automation begin to dictate our choices or, even worse, freedom? Milwaukeean producer Thane explores this question on his recent album The Algorithm Isn't Working, a sonic exploration of the consequences of letting machines interfere with our spiritual connection to the natural world. It envisions its weighty subject matter through the heavy use of vocal samples, chopped up and distorted through the lens of often ambient leaning electronica, and shorter high-octane bursts which offer beguiling and exciting genreless excursions in technological expression. 

The thought-provoking refrain of "What will it take us to change?" on "PSA" is set against a kind of digital punk that turns into blissful ambient. Likewise, the acid trance of "THANE-MAX 5000" falls to depths of soulfulness before rising in a euphoric Europop climax, its brevity making it all the more exciting. Brevity is a core concept of this collection. With a running time of just over 18 minutes, many of the tracks whizz by in a blink-and-miss-it blurring of moods.  

The Algorithm Isn't Working is an impressively assembled mix of trance, club music, and experimental electronic by an artist whose sights are perenially set on impressive heightsWhile Thane doesn't always hit the target, he always lands on slick mutations guided by restless energy, as is found on the combustible closing track "We Don't Know The Expected Outcome". 

Though there could be a conspiratorial theory driving these songs' production, AI's threat is a concern at every level of society, including the upper echelons of judiciary activity. Thane writes that this album explores "the meaning of freedom in an algorithm-run world." A loss of freedom at the hands of algorithmically engineered lives could range from being advertised fake news to losing your job to a robot. Whether or not Thane successfully draws a parallel to these concepts through his wildly ambitious and dynamic electronic music is a matter of interpretation. However, anyone fond of electronic music with personality and which abandons tradition will find plenty to admire here.