Paula Temple – Edge of Everything Review
I’ve been actively listening to techno for about 3 years now. I’ve always known about techno. I mean actual techno, not the catch-all term that some people incorrectly use to refer to all electronic music. I mean techno. What you hear in underground clubs throughout Berlin, London, or Detroit. The actual genre and sound of techno.
While I did appreciate the genre as I appreciate all electronic music, it’s minimalist drive didn’t hook me until fairly recently. While that is the case for techno in my life, it’s not for Paula Temple.
Paula Temple is a name that I’ve known for a long time. Long before I was ever a dedicated listener to techno, I listened to, and knew of, Paula Temple. And when I discovered that Edge of Everything, Paula’s new album, is not just a new album, but her debut album, my immediate thought was that can’t be right, surely she’s released albums before this.
But alas, it’s true. Edge of Everything is the very first complete album this interesting DJ and artist has ever released. Famous for her edgy, gritty sound on her various singles and DJ sets, Temple not only provides more of that type of sound on Edge of Everything, but she expounds on it and fleshes it out. Perfects it. And in doing so, she almost creates a narrative-driven story.
Edge of Everything is a beautiful record. But it’s as dark as it is beautiful. It’s as gritty as it is dark. The calm, album opener “Berlin” sets the stage with soothing atmosphere and ambient soundscapes. It makes one feel as though you are viewing the skyline of Berlin while floating above the city, not affected by the busy human activity below.
From there the album descends into orderly chaos. With “Joshua and Goliath,” your time floating above the city is over and you descend into the depths of the dark, dimly lit city streets, bustling with human activity. This is probably the noisiest thing I’ve heard Temple create, it almost has an industrial vibe that is present throughout the rest of the record. The beat picks you up and you’re suddenly in a dark, noisy night club.
“Joshua and Goliath” is then reprised with a surprising down-tempo remix, which creates a haunting atmosphere, while retaining the noisy, gritty textures of the techno version.
The album continues on in this fashion throughout its entirety. A constant back and forth between noisy-uptempo, edgy techno that borders on industrial and ambient, sonic landscapes to create a sense of serene calm only to be shattered once again by the edgy, noisy texures. Even the ambient passages are not without an edge. Noisy textures are found throughout which never totally put you at ease. It’s as if, even in the calmness of the ambience, you are reminded that right outside is a dark, noisy, city and that you are never separated from it’s chaos for too long.
Edge of Everything is an amazing debut album from an established name in electronic music that gives one the definite sense of being in some sort of dystopian environment, which of course gives it a home on Cyberpunkery and in my heart.
I love this album. I’ve had it on repeat for several days now. I highly recommend checking it out. It is available now on all streaming services and for purchase on bandcamp.
Summary A beautiful, noisy, textured techno album that sets up a definite dystopian narrative in the listener. It is unsettling in the best possible way as its dark, gritty, almost industrial atmospheres penetrate you to your core.