2021’s Electric Mind took Italian synthesist Alan Elettronico on a space odyssey through the golden years of space disco (1977-1980). Now in 2023 he expands and concludes the story with this deluxe expanded edition featuring a bonus track and nine reprocessed ambient remixes from Projekt artists including Erik Wøllo, Forrest Fang, Deepspace, VEiiLA, Lovespirals and others.
The uptempo catchy melodies of the album’s original rhythm-driven tracks found the >REPEAT> button regularly smashed in the Projekt office. Electric Mind‘s synthetic sound treatment and robotic voices juxtaposed with pop sensibilities made a memorable digital incursion into the analog era. Elettronico used the suggestions of artists like Moroder, Vangelis, or Lipps. Inc to build a pulsing soundtrack to an imaginary android protagonist’s life. Now the original 8-song story is concluded with the bonus track, “Short Circuit.” Disc two sees the humanoid character explore a digital afterlife, merging into a collective consciousness with the possibility of metaphysical connection.
Do robots dream of electric heaven?
Elettronico reflects, “I found it natural to bend the story to a spiritual/metaphysical scenario because the premise was the birth of conscience. Electronic dance and ambient work really well as embodiments of a mechanical body and a soul, respectively. The final result, when listening to both parts, is exactly as I imagined: the contrast between life and afterlife, matter and spirit. But it’s only an apparent contrast as both discs are made of the same core music. This is absolutely fantastic!”
When Electric Mind was released in 2021, there was already the idea to explore a further evolution of both the music and the narrative. The story saw a humanoid main character embark on a journey to discover a sense of self and experience what can truly make them human regardless of their artificial origin. I’ve always thought of them as genderless, with features that are indistinguishable from real humans, but with mechanical aspects they hid under their clothes. The original eight songs were just the first chapter of their life story encompassing their “childhood” and “youth” — if the concepts are applicable to the life of an artificial being.
After two years the story has continued silently: the character learnt to blend into human society, becoming one of us. But there was still something they had to learn: the grief of loss, the fear of death, the final step of becoming nothing, which is the ultimate human experience. So to the original eight tracks of the first edition, a new track is added, “Short Circuit.” As the title implies, it’s the final act of this being, not human, not machine, who deliberately ends their life and frees themselves of the unbearable sense of void that an endless life of solitude gives them. But what is there after life, all kinds of life?
Is there a heaven for a digital soul?
And if there is one, what would it look — or better — sound like?
This is the answer that disc two attempts to give: the original songs — that’s to say the original story — gets remixed and transfigured. All is the same, but it is also totally different. Once again the protagonist has to recognize themselves, but this time through the eyes of others, getting in touch with the endless selves that one is in the eyes of the other. And maybe they are now truly happy, if happiness is a collective feeling?
The contrast between life and afterlife
The music on disc two is a total departure from the musical concept behind the original composition. As disc one ends with the death of the character, disc two is set in a sort of metaphysical scenario where all elements are sublimated and transfigured. Although the cores of the songs are still the original compositions, the artists involved poured their style and approach to music into the pre-existing material to give it a new life. The result is amazing! Although every artist worked solitarily to create their mixes, they built a consistent album just as if they had worked together. This is the most surprising part: a listener who didn’t know these are remixes would think this is an album from a single artist. That means a strong bond was born through the original music — and this is what really amazed me.
The final result, when listening to both parts, is exactly as I imagined: the contrast between life and afterlife, matter and spirit, is embodied by the sheer opposition of rhythmic dance music and aerial ambient melodies. But it’s only an apparent contrast as both discs are made of the same core music. This is absolutely fantastic!
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