The Acid - 'Liminal' - Cover- 2014


01. Animal
02. Veda
03. Creeper
04. Fame
05. Ra
06. Tumbling Lights
07. Ghost
08. Basic Instinct
09. Red
10. Clean
11. Feed


Previously obscured behind a veil of anonymity, THE ACID have since been unmasked as LA-based singer-songwriter RY X long-time electronic artist, Team Supreme collaborator and music technology professor Steve Nalepa; and Adam Freeland, Grammy-nominated British DJ and dance producer. Their combined sound is masterfully simple, and one quickly gets the impression that this is music with solid craftsmanship behind it – a once-over of the artists involved, and this is understandably so.

Liminal makes the immediate audial suggestion that it is, indeed, a liminal space. Neither here nor there, sliding between shadows, the sound is tressed with a feeling of static. The record is also strangely synaesthetic, casting moody shadows of grey and pale blue. There’s an overriding sense of melancholy, almost glumness, but there’s also a beautiful simplicity throughout that stamps it with a breath of optimism.

Opening track Animal features RY X‘s almost Thom Yorke-esque vocals over barely-there beats. There’s a sensation of winter gilded to its edges; of red wine, of a wooden coffee table, of snow licking at the windowpanes. At the same time, this could be music for a garden afternoon in the summertime, if given the breathing space of sufficient volume.

Creeper treads lightly before ushering itself out with a machine-gun bow, giving way to the Nintendo-like synth of Fame. The vocals remain bare throughout the record; naked, unadorned with reverb or special effects. The subtlety of the rise-and-fall movement throughout Liminal is impressive, shifting between moods like walking beneath treetops, solar impressions alternating between light and shade.

Basic Instinct is an album highlight. It’s also host to a brilliant visual interpretation, a collaboration between film-maker Dugan O’Neal and LA dance troupe WIFE. The track, and the accompanying video, successfully imitate the sensation of floating in water, of falling in slow motion – strikingly liminal sensations, ambiguous, difficult to catch between the fingers. It also features one of the rare points during the album at which a sense of unloosening is felt, as the vocals suddenly tear through the elastic-tight tension with a howl.

Closing tracks Clean and Feed are whisper-like, drawing the album to a soft close. RY X‘s vocals in Feed brush across the surface of the woozy synthesiser, little more than a croon, fading into eventual silence. All hail to THE ACID – this musical joint venture turned out to be a terrific one.

‘Liminal’ presents itself like a tightrope walker; delicate and sensual, but with a strength and balance threaded into its spine. This is a slick, well-crafted record laced with electronic-pop appeal.

NBHAP Rating: 4/5