Anthony Baldino’s 'Twelve Twenty Two' LP
Tasteful and incredibly detailed, 'Twelve Twenty Two' bridges the gap between sound-design laden beats, cinematic motifs, and other experimental genres of dance music.
MethLab Recordings is known for exploring experimental and forward thinking bass music. They have had a steady flow of insane releases this year that do just that and they show no sign of slowing down. Their latest body of work is the debut artist LP from master sound designer Anthony Baldino titled 'Twelve Twenty Two' and it isn’t something to look past.
After googling him for a bit, I found out that he has worked on the trailer music for some of my favorite movies (Ex-Machina, Prometheus, & Zero Dark Thirty to name a few), I was even more excited to listen to this album. Let’s talk about it.
We begin this album with Fading Quickly Now and dive right into the madness that he has created for us. He sets the tone of the album right from the start with this track. Dark, ambient, and ominous. We begin this track with a nice atmospheric intro that leads into the dark world Anthony is creating for us. Huge synths and pads drive the majority of this tune. He adds in some nice cinematic sounding drums to really start building the tension. Around the 2:30 mark, we get introduced to some of his crazy sound design to add a nice layer on top of those drums and pads. This track really sets up the rest of the album nicely. It gave me a sense of welcoming like the opening soundtrack to a movie.
The next tune up is Artax and this one's for you modular synth lovers. We get right to the point and begin with some really nice and ambient pads and some really glitchy drums and textures on top. His use of percussion and sound fx throughout this track is insane. He keeps building on top of those pads and adding in more intricate details that people of the modular world will really appreciate. The structure of the track stays the same throughout most of it which isn’t a bad thing. He has created an entire world of sound that moves itself around your head while you are listening.
Quad Coaxial opens up with a very minimal pluck but doesn’t waste more than a few seconds before doing a complete 360. Anthony has turned it up a notch here and made one of the most interesting and original tracks that I have heard in a long time. He has created this very spacious atmosphere with the various synth sounds and sound fx he uses but it’s filled with this crazy, glitched out, broken drum groove that rides out for the majority of the tune. We get a small break from the madness in the middle of the tune but then it’s right back into it. The track finish off with a much more ambient outro and the main lead from the beginning slowly fading out. This one really took me by surprise and had me replaying it over and over to try and pay attention to all the little details he has added in there. One of my favorites on the LP.
Track four is titled Dust and we begin with a very cinematic sounding intro featuring big ambient pads, huge drums, and a flute lead that set the theme for this one. Some nice hip-hop drums and the insane glitchy sound design that we have seen throughout this whole LP come in next to transport us to a new place. As the track progresses, Anthony is constantly changing it up and keeps you guessing as to what is coming next. He keeps the energy going into the second section and brings the track to a very nice and minimal outro to finish things off. The attention to detail on this track blew my mind. If I closed my eyes, I felt like I was running through a futuristic environment in a movie when this track was playing it.
Next up is Like Watching Ghosts and this track is on the shorter side running only 2:12 but its filled with some of the craziest sound design that definitely showcases Anthony’s work. It’s filled with ambient synths, huge pads, and what sounds like vintage analog gear that would fit right into a scene of Blade Runner.
Track 6 is Cloud Genes. Starting off with a nice and spacey synth lead in the intro, we quickly move into some more of Anthony’s insane drum programming and otherworldly sound design. As tune continues on, the drums stay consistent but the variation in the percussion, bass design, and sound fxs really hits the nail on the head of experimental and forward thinking bass music that MethLab are really known for.
The seventh track here is a short 51 second beat named Below, The Unknown but don't let the short run time turn you away. This one starts right away with a broken drum groove, more of his glitchy sound design and some nice ambient pads to fill out the rest of the space. This track really takes me into a scene of a cyberpunk dystopian movie like some of the previous ones did as well. The attention to detail is crazy. Especially with the percussion and all the tiny sound fx’s. It really helps to set a mood.
Fractal is next on the list and gets going right away with huge pads and alien-like sound design that creates an eerie atmosphere. He moves us through this space with varying sound fx and tiny details sprinkled throughout that grab at you. Around the 2:30 mark, we get a very brief moment of air and some more ambient synths come in but he quickly turns this on its head. The song takes on a much heavier tone here with the huge broken drums that come in accompanied by some of the craziest and most (for lack of a better term) out-of-this world sound design I have ever heard. We continue with this huge barrage of sound design and drums until he strips back most of it at the end of the track and leaves us with a very beautiful ambient outro.
Drifting Further begins with some very ambient and airy synths and moves into another perfectly crafted broken drum groove. Some glitchy percussion and sound fx’s make their way into the mix now and take the track down a whole new path. His sound choice in this track is some of my favorite on the LP. I love the way all of them play off of each other and create a huge soundscape. Towards the middle we get introduced to some new cinematic synths and new percussion before we fade out. But he quickly comes back in to give you just a bit more with some bitcrushed synths.
For the final tune we have Beneath The Fall and wow this one really got me. There is so much emotion packed into this track. He starts off with some very wet, slowed down hip-hop drums, a nice deep bass line, and ambient pads to create this amazing atmosphere that take you on a journey. He builds the tension into this next section where huge synths, the drums, bassline, and some new sound fx come together in this very heavenly way. The second section of the track has a similar structure to the first but features some more modular sounding textures and percussion. We end this one with a much more minimal outro of just the drums and some sound fx from the beginning. This is one that you really need to sit down, close your eyes, and let yourself sink into.
This is one of the most insane LP’s I have heard in a long time from the guys over at MethLab. Definitely make sure you grab this release over on their Bandcamp and experience this masterpiece that Anthony Baldino has created.