Only 3 new songs apart from the singles...😔
Anyway, this entire album is pretty fucking awesome. Surprisingly, I think it actually flows really naturally. The fact that I can say that in an album which features artists from 100 gecs to JPEGMAFIA to Full Of Hell to Soccer Mommy to Xiu Xiu is unbelievable.
"DISCO4 (PART 1)" is a collection of collaborations that the aggressive, genre-annihilating band, HEALTH have racked up over the past years. The earliest of these singles probably being "HARD TO BE A GOD" with NOLIFE, which surfaced in Late 2017. Because, 9 of these 12 tracks are not new material and have been released throughout a span of nearly three years. It's fair to say that I've had time to sit with these tracks. So, I'll try to focus on the album experience as a whole now that the entire thing is out.
I've been hyped for each single to come from HEALTH ever since I first listened to their collaboration with one of my favorite artists of all time...JPEGMAFIA. "HATE YOU" is a succinct moment of pure anger, with an off-the-chain Peggy performance only elevated by HEALTH's massive production. Anyway, I can't say I've been disappointed with any single since then. So, I was looking forward to see if HEALTH was going to stick the landing.
Now that this thing is finally here, I can confidently say it's one of the most immersive albums of 2020. HEALTH throws 'genre' out the way and effectively strings together tracks to make more an emotional rollercoaster full of cathartic moments of reflection and moments of unashamed anger.
DISCO4 kicks off with some of the synth-punk-ish style they're often associated with. I tend to agree that HEALTH is susceptible to the trappings of bland synth-punk every now & then, focusing on mood over substance. However, the instances on "DISCO4" are not anywhere near bland. The opening "CYBERPUNK 188.8.131.52" is a cinematic with a capital C soundscape which instantly gets me involved with this album's unsettling atmosphere. Despite being the second longest track here, it's still one of the more mesmerizing melodies to the point that I'm never bored. "BODY/PRISON" still utilizes the very subtle vocals, however the production has already begun it's shift to some heavier and more harsh stylistics. The whole tracks feels very alarming with it's throbbing bass hits and those persistent wails, almost warning us of what's to come.
Leading us to "POWER FANTASY"...what the fuck is happening on this thing? When I saw 100 gecs was featuring on this thing, I knew we'd get something special, but this track is just out of this world weird. The production has these strange shrieks and monstrous bass hits making for an instantly memorable moment in the tracklist. Following the gecs collaboration, "DSCO4" continues the trend upwards to the heights of the abrasive madness. Ghostemane surprisingly enough KILLS his manic performance on "JUDGEMENT NIGHT", setting the scene for the even more off-the-chain contribution from Youth Code on the raw, robotic sounding "INNOCENCE". All of this is nothing compared to the succinctly ruthless, "FULL OF HEALTH". Certainly, my favorite track on this thing alongside "HATE YOU". Both waste no time in getting into the vicious yet dynamic rage, both go unjustifiably HARD.
Whilst "HATE YOU" and "COLORS" are more accessible than a track like "FULL OF HEALTH". They both continue the dark, almost villainous vibe of the album. "I wasn't aware of The Soft Moon's music, however his wickedly hypnotic contributions help give this track the replay value that it very much has. Brothel is another artist I wasn't familiar with since this is one of the few NEW tracks on DSCO4. Plus, their spotify bio is kinda cringe...look it up. Anyway, I think Brothel has a hand in producing the song, "D.F. LOOKS" since there aren't any clear vocals. Whatever their contribution was, I'm fucking with the almost druggy nature of how layered the production here , the effects on the chopped-up vocals only elevate this intoxicating vibe, so it's a highlight for me. "MASS GRAVE" features Soccer Mommy, yes, that Soccer Mommy. NO, you didn't misread that. Anyway, I think her vocal performance is sort of average, however HEALTH's production is super detailed with a variety of vivid embellishments, keeping the songs entertaining for the majority of the run-time.
Generally, the songs have slowly but surely been de-escalating and growing more focused on a moody atmosphere since the peak of energy at the sort of mid section. The album continues playing it a bit more lowkey with "DELICIOUS APE", an almost ambient piece of genre-less music strangely juxtaposed with Jamie from Xiu XIu's normal antics. Also, at the fourth minute the pace picks up into this thrilling synth interlude before going back down to the original ambience. Finally, this journey ends appropriately on "HARD TO BE A GOD", which showcases both of the unsettling sides of the album, HEALTH's futuristic mood-setters and their guest's unfiltered experimentation.
Ultimately, this is a VOYAGE which is very rewardingly built to emphasize emotion and mood of their collaborators making for a cathartic full listen. HEALTH aren't necessarily pushing any boundaries but by merging all of these different sounds into something extremely coherent, they've outdone themselves.
BEST TRACKS: "CYBERPUNK 184.108.40.206.", "POWER FANTASY", "INNOCENCE", "FULL OF HEALTH", "HATE YOU", "D.F. LOOKS", "DELICIOUS APE"
WORST TRACKS: "MASS GRAVE"