Voluptas Mors is a Barcelona based electronic project made up of Ramon (producer, keyboards, guitars) and Laura (producer, electronic drums, percussion), joined by a set of vocalists to add more depth and dynamism to their elements of trip-hop, downtempo, chill lounge and nu-jazz, with pop and dance influences. In fact the duo state that their latest album, “Imagination”, infused with pulsating deep house rhythms, is their most dance-centric release to date. The 8 track album absolutely luminous, gorgeous from start to finish. Each song has its own intricate and beautiful arrangement, with the sometimes delicate, and sometimes powerful, male-female vocals doing melodic acrobatics around the walls of synth pads, funky basslines and driving drum machines.
Working the knobs and the sequencing pads, producers Ramon and Laura orchestrate “Imagination” with bold, dramatic strokes. They’ve honed in on textures that are preoccupied with warm organic sounds, and their instrumentals feel more deliberate as a result. So you’ll find screaming rock guitars on “Harmful Ambitious”, or a resonant saxophone solo on “Be Like Me”. Voluptas Mors doesn’t waste any time establishing the musical melting pot vision they had for this record. Within the first five tracks, they already explore five different genres and about double the amount of sub-genres.
The compositions here are for the most part far more subtle and profound than they appear at first listen, which means it takes multiple listening before the intricacies of each song sink in. Once the scope and impact of these tracks are fully realized, it becomes evident that this is the most creative and consistently enjoyable material Voluptas Mors has produced in their very brief, but very prolific career thus far, at least from my point of view.
The atmospheric offerings shine a spotlight on just how fantastic the vocals are too. The clean vocal approach taken on “Wake You Up” and “Harmful Ambitious” allow the raw, authentic beauty of both the male and female vocals to shine through. The vocalists used here are as capable as anyone else in these genres and “Imagination” is the perfect showcase of just how truly talented they are.
Voluptas Mors also go out of their wheelhouse by showing that they’re capable of producing tracks that contain more than densely layered synth lines and thumping bass. The production on “So Dance With Me” is predominantly based around mellow synths and percussion, which creates a haunting, dream-like atmosphere that remains consistent throughout the song’s tonal changes.
The work here, and on the edgy and alternative “Left With Nothing”, proves that this duo is far more than a couple of one-dimensional electronic music producers. The pure visceral force of the tracks on this album is astonishing, and makes for some of the most invigorating electronic songs to be released in 2017.
Walking a fine line between dance-friendly, synth-driven electronic music and hauntingly rich song textures which can be enjoyed on a set of high-end headphones is difficult, but Voluptas Mors has the creative drive and consistently strong production values to make it work. Their intense arrangements on “Imagination” build into progressive compositions that’s bold, cinematic and meant to resonate in everything from dance floors to headphones to cars with tricked-out stereo systems.
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