In 2012, Perturbator’s onslaught of initial releases (“Night Driving Avenger,” “Terror 404,” “Nocturne City,” and “I Am the Night”) rocketed him through the ranks of retrosynth producers – receiving tons of accolades and comparisons to JOHN CARPENTER, GOBLIN, and VANGELIS.
As he continued to hone his skills as a producer, Perturbator actively searched for something deeper within electronic music.
This took a darker turn with his 2014 smash breakthrough “Dangerous Days” and went deeper into the mire with 2016’s Billboard-chart topping “The Uncanny Valley.”
But James “Perturbator” Kent was feeling the limitations of the genre he helped redefine.
Going forward, “New Model” eschews the nostalgia and pop culture references controlling the synthwave scene, feeling that they interfere with true subject matter. Of course, there are a vast array of influences at work on “New Model” – ranging from KRAFTWERK to LORN to D.A.F and NINE INCH NAILS – but Kent wanted to break out and explore releasing music on its own merit, rather than regurgitating tropes.
“’New Model’ continues Perturbator’s legacy of exploring the future,” Kent states, “but this future is one based in our own eerie reality and not the retrofuturistic fantasy explored on ‘I Am the Night,’ ‘Dangerous Days,’ or ‘The Uncanny Valley.’”
An accompanying narrative for this release has been written. But the full story shall remain Perturbator’s alone.
“In short, the narrative puts the listener in the point-of-view of an omnipotent A.I. – the New Model – a piece of human technology so advanced that it transcends concepts such as life, death, time, space, sense or language. The New Model is everything and everywhere at the same time. It was created to help mankind and save it from war, disease, pain and mortality. This creates a paradox for the god-like A.I., who understands the only way to prevent humanity from hurting or being hurt is to erase humans from existence.”
The 6 tracks of the album act as chapters of your story – from conception (“Birth of the New Model”) to the peak of your dominance (“God Complex”). This includes going through the emulation of human emotions (“Vantablack”) and the disappointment that led you to where you are right now (“Tainted Empire”).
The story was inspired by the “Roko’s Basilisk” thought experiment:
“Roko’s basilisk is a thought experiment about the potential risks involved in developing artificial intelligence. The premise is that an all-powerful artificial intelligence from the future could retroactively punish those who did not help bring about its existence, including those who merely knew about the possible development of such a being. It resembles a futurist version of Pascal’s wager, in that it suggests people should weigh possible punishment versus reward and as a result accept particular singularitarian ideas or financially support their development.”
On a secondary level, “New Model” mirrors Perturbator’s own intimate and hopeless views about the world. The album name “New Model” references his desire to begin a musical clean slate without the baggage of relying on a scene with so many restrictions.
In that sense, “New Model” functioned as Kent’s very own personal therapist. The album is a dialogue between Perturbator and his ability to create or destroy his reason to exist: music. Sometimes grotesque and overly dramatic, sometimes eye-opening and extremely cathartic. It doesn’t need to be beautiful, all that matters is that it exists.
“Musically speaking, ‘New Model’ isn’t trying to make you dance. It is not a fun album.
It isn’t radio friendly, and it doesn’t celebrate anything. As it was written during the most depressed and nihilistic period of my life, it was important for me to create a very raw, sometimes chaotic, slithering atmosphere that would take the listener through a short but exhausting digital nightmare – similar to the one I felt while composing it.” Kent says.
In fact, the tracks on “New Model” feature unusual time signatures, brutal and subtle shifts in BPM, multi-layered analog and digital synths, distorted and unprocessed sounds, some parts even flirting with pure noise.
“Most importantly, I believe it is important to note that it is the first time since ‘I Am the Night’ (2012) that I purposely wrote music without attempting to please the audience in any way. It can perhaps end up frustrating the listener (“God Complex” is too long on purpose and “Corrupted by Design” doesn’t have a chorus for example). All of this was intentional, as all of that ‘strangeness’ serves the mood of the release. Its purpose is to finally free Perturbator from the rules of the genre it has existed within and helped shape for so long. It is time for something new.”
James “Perturbator” Kent
Night Driving Avenger – 2012
Terror 404 – 2012
Nocturne City – 2012
I Am the Night – 2012
Sexualizer – 2013
Dangerous Days – 2014
The Uncanny Valley – 2016
New Model – 2017