Revered London producer and composer Daniel Avery has released his most accomplished and wide-ranging album to date with Ultra Truth, coming by way of Phantasy Sound.
With influences spanning the gamut of electronic music, atmospheric cinematic compositions, and throwbacks to the punk era of yore, Ultra Truth sees Avery planning, constructing and inhabiting entirely new walls of sound through an intricately layered and ever-rewarding listening experience across this, his fifth, studio album.
Upon a complete listen to Ultra Truth, one is immediately struck by its aversion to harbor a similar experience from past Avery albums, whether the socially distanced Together in Static (2020) or his 2013 debut, the stirring Techno psychedelia of Drone Logic. While those sought rays of optimism and escape, this album stares directly into darkness, yet scattered with moments that do not shy away as Avery's foundational escapist dream. It is intentionally heavy; dense, with surprises throughout its dusty corners. Collaborations come from some of the heroes of local underground electronic music, many something of Avery protegees, and stamping a communal, close-kit album feel – something its full coherence revels in. These names include the likes of Australia's HAAi (Wall of Sleep), as well as BPM-queen Sherelle (Near Perfect), Kelly lee Owens (Chaos Energy), and James Messiah (Heavy Rain).
But aside from the collaborations, it is the sheer breadth of sonic influence that each track embodies, not just a genre but a snapshot in time. Take, for example, the left field rave heavy tracks like Devotion, a thunderous, mechanized adventure through days of pure ecstasy and free love. There is also a tribute track, coming to the late DJ-pioneer/create a digger, Andrew Weatherall. The way, Lone Swordsman, feels cloned from the genetic code of Weatherall's most transcending moments. It is dotted with a cavalcade of breakbeats as it implores profound sadness. Then, there is the pure jungle of Higher, a throwback to the True Playaz when DJ Hype, Zinc, and Pascal ruled the day. There is also the album's single, Chaos Energy, complete with an AI-produced music video. Chaos Energy is the kind of electronic music created in the depths of (David) Lynchian horror, starting as a glitchy piece house before exploding into a nightmarish sonic fever dream. Further highlights include forays into Ambient with Arche and Overflowing With Escape and 90s Trance with the vocally-led Wall of Sleep.
Ultra Truth is a familiar and unexpected album, where balance and harmony juxtapose with anxious anticipation for what could come. It invokes such classics as Underworld's dubnobasswithyourheadman and Leftfield's Leftism while maintaining its narrative consistency and high production values across its 15 tracks. As a result, Ultra Truth is a complex, intense listening experience and one wholly consistent with Avery's aversion to single lanes of creativity. With influences abounding and technical mastery evident throughout, Ultra Truth marks Daniel Avery's undisputed ascension to the apex of electronic artistry.