Though he says Infinity Ultra was meant to be cathartic—dealing with the cacophony of modern life by drowning it out—Speeed's walls of sound aren't always aggressive or harsh. They can be almost comforting. Nostalgic melodies in the vein of Nathan Fake or Boards Of Canada are found in tracks like "BCCCC" or "Moonchord Supermagic," which evoke childlike wonder. But the ugly climax of the latter, where a whimsical composition transforms into a block of distortion, reminds us that, in Speeed's world, everything is constantly in flux.
References to contemporary electronic music are all over Infinity Ultra, which captures the brilliance of rave, hardcore and trance as much as it does, say, shoegaze or the kind of post-rock that Speeed, as a teenager, once played in various bands. "Ambien Rave" highlights trance's boldness with a booming lead, unshackled from a rhythm section, that gets crunchier and more fiery as it goes along. Its latent menace is replaced by triumph and clarity on "Fifth Fortress," a track full of stunning arpeggios and grandiose melodies that would make you pump your fist if there were kick drums underneath.
Though Speeed deals with dance music tropes on Infinity Ultra, he's never been a dance music guy. His first album, released through LuckyMe, offered an unusual (and welcome) perspective on modern classical, and before that he was in a band called American Men. He's a songwriter first and foremost, and so even his experiments—like the reshaping of ephemeral sounds on "800 Super NYC"—tend to have a defined structure. That sense of composition bleeds through to the album's sequencing, which rolls through walls of sound and quiet lullabies like "XY Autostream."
Infinity Ultra ends on a poignant note with "Dreamdream." A smeared canvas that sounds like The Field slowed to a crawl, it's an excerpt of Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" looped over and over until it turns into a thick wash of blinding white. "Dreamdream" comes from a time shortly after the death of Speeed's father, when even the schmalziest things could seem profound. He channels that feeling by looping Perry's vocal until her Top 40 emotions become monolithic and impossible to ignore, on a scale far grander than the pop song her voice is taken from. Speeed finds transcendence in loudness and distortion, making noise not so much to express frustration as to heal.
Thu / 27 Jul 2017
03. Windows 95
04. Ambien Rave
05. Alternate Histories feat. Kuedo
06. Moonchord Supermagic
07. 800 Super NYC
08. XY Autostream
09. Fifth Fortress
11. Entering The Zone
12. Center Tech