ANDO LAJ “Miriam Transmission” C23
(Hacktivism Records)

Miriam Transmission was released four days after my birthday in November (that’s November 30 on the release, November 26 for my birthday, in case you want to get me something). Why is that important, especially since I’m just now listening to it at the tail end of March? I’m glad you asked. There’s virtually no connection that I can think of, so I’m pretty much just wasting your time with this paragraph. Skip ahead.

Ando Laj is the music-making alter ego of Andy Lajeunesse of Toronto, and he dabbles a little bit in the dark arts, just like Professor Severus Snape, the most unfairly maligned of all the characters in the Harry Potter universe. Is this another conceptual red herring? Not on your life. Can you skip ahead? Don’t you dare – these dark arts are of the ambient/electronic/darkwave variety, and if you miss a second of Andy’s output, you may as well skulk off to an unfulfilled Draco Malfoy-esque existence. (Uh… spoiler?)

Harry Potter references aside, you’ll be able to wring as much moody emotion out of Miriam Transmission as a hormonal fifth-year searching for the Room of Requirement. (Oops, Harry Potter references aside starting... now!) Tracks like “Midnight Order” and “Avalum Avalumex” (and now do you see where I’m drawing these parallels?) owe as much to electronica and footwork as cyberpunk industrial, itchily reacting to every nocturnal stimulus they come in contact with.

“Croyance Fausse” and the title track burn slow, though, much less skittery, and with a sense of doom overshadowing them. My personal fave, “Witch,” is much lighter than the rest of the tape with its chiming, Eastern-flavored arpeggios. Its beats are simultaneously glitchy and rendered with electronic hand drums, a nice rhythmic juxtaposition that separates it from the heaviness of the rest of the tape. And it’s barely over two minutes long, so blink and you’ll miss it! Or incant it with the proper hand motions and cause chaos, see what I care.

--Ryan Masteller