The world of digital music loves extravagant ideas, and Perel could have taken this 12 months’s prize for outlandish considering. On Jesus Was an Alien, her follow-up to 2018’s Hermetica, on DFA, the German digital musician and DJ asks a query worthy of late-night cable programming—Was Jesus truly an extra-terrestrial?—whereas ostensibly fostering “a social debate about what’s and implies faith in the present day,” weighty themes that make dance music’s shopworn tales of getting down and infrequently soiled pale compared. Add to this a mischievous humorousness—the album’s cowl depicts Perel suckling a child alien to her breast—and you’ve got what must be considered one of most entertaining dance music releases of the 12 months.
Sadly, Jesus Was an Alien falls quick in its ambition. Maybe it’s unreasonable to count on divine revelation from an album of synth-heavy techno pop on considered one of Germany’s extra reliably industrious labels. However regardless of its grand setup, Jesus Was an Alien comes throughout as shallow and relatively innocuous. Perel’s manufacturing is undoubtedly vibrant and punchy, however the primary mixture of arpeggiated synth riffs and electro-disco drum machines has been round since “I Really feel Love,” and there are not any new tangles or grit to tell apart the album from the work of 1000’s of tech-house journeymen. The lyrical themes, too, are relatively grey: The tedious “Faith” merely repeats the phrase “Schau mich an!” (“Take a look at me!” in German)—maybe potent stuff again in 1517, when Martin Luther was nailing his “Ninety-five Theses” to Wittenberg church doorways, however unlikely to blow many minds in an period grappling with simulation speculation, string idea, and AI. The lyrics of “The Precept Of Vibration” add mainly nothing to an intriguing tune title; and does anybody actually want one other tune about The Matrix, three sequels down?
This wouldn’t matter if the music on Jesus Was an Alien was extra spirited, however the album’s manufacturing hardly ever ventures past the competent. Perel claims to really feel “feelings and colours piling up inside me” because of her synesthesia, however the shade scheme on Jesus Was an Alien suggests a utilitarian whitewash with the occasional trace of blue. This can be a slight album, musically, that operates in predictable straight strains: Synths trundle alongside like cruise-control electroclash, drum machines tick by, and a piano makes its innocuous voice recognized on “The Matrix,” a vaguely old-school home tune that resembles Joe Clean’s “Promised Land” with all the eagerness blue-pilled out of it.
Different membership conceptualists, like Drexciya or Jeff Mills, have paired weighty subject material with a way of gravitas, however Perel’s completely purposeful music, when stripped of its lyrics, may very well be about something, actually, and it steadfastly refuses to catch hearth. “Kill the System” is so measured in its arpeggiated stroll that it makes me wish to re-evaluate my house owner’s insurance coverage relatively than storm the barricades.