With the release of their new single ‘Turbine Blue’, Sydney-based electronic trio Seekae have distanced themselves from the severe and clinical sounds that defined their 2014 album ‘The Worry’. Instead, Seekae offer us a subdued, synth-centric ballad that, when stripped to its skeletal core, could be envisaged as a chart smash written by Max Martin.
The release of ‘Turbine Blue’ comes only a couple of months after the release of ‘Strep’, Seekae’s Jon Hassel’s first collaboration with his fellow countryman Lucian Blomkamp under the name of Brutalist. ‘Strep’ has all the metallic sterility of ‘The Worry’, creating a desolate atmosphere that is propelled by its turbulent rhythm section. With obvious influence from IDM artists such as Autechre, Strep is a dance track with industrial stylings that mimic Brutalist’s namesake architectural movement.
Contrastingly, Seekae’s Turbine Blue is airy and luminescent in its timbre, featuring a melodic elegance that hints firmly at Seekae’s intentions of creating their interpretation of a memorable pop track. The lyrics of the track also suggest a radio-friendly approach, with the familiar subject matter of imperfect romance being employed – I’m fairly confident that this is the first time the trio have used the lyric “baby” throughout their discography.
‘Turbine Blue’ isn’t a total departure from their earlier efforts; the quivering voice of synthesiser that delivers the track’s cumbersome chord progression clearly resides in the same sonic arsenal that was used to great effect in The Worry – Alex Cameron’s languid vocal harmony that sits towards the front of the mix is also distinctively Seekae.
The new direction that Seekae appear to be pursuing with this single might split opinion; for this track at least, they have ridden themselves of their industrial characteristics in favour of catchy synth-pop. Hassel’s Brutalist on the other hand is sounding as industrial as ever – this could be evidence of the trio dividing and bracketing their musical interests.
Words: Liam Hart