Acronym & Kali Malone – Bringing out the best of both worlds

Blog February 21 2019

Acronym & Kali Malone “The Torrid Eye” (Stilla Ton, 2019) – Review by Ivna Franić.

Bringing together two distinct voices of Sweden’s underground music scene, “The Torrid Eye” sees techno producer Acronym (aka Dan Vicente) team up with the Stockholm-based American composer Kali Malone for a five-track release on the former’s recently launched label, Stilla Ton. While Malone rounded off 2018 with not one but two stunning releases – her sophomore album “Cast of Mind” and the vinyl reissue of “Organ Dirges 2016-2017” – Vicente hasn’t exactly stood still either, putting out a string of EPs and remixes under his Acronym alias. This collaborative EP, recorded using Buchla 200 modular synthesizer, marks the third and possibly most exciting release for Acronym’s young label. 

Although they usually operate in different genres, the two multi-instrumentalists seem to share more than the geographic affiliation to the same scene. For one, they both have a refined sense of carefully building up tracks and their accompanying moods. ‘Call from Tower’ opens the release with a slowly unfolding drone, giving way to the EP’s early highlight ‘A Sunspot’. Its soft, bright tones and a subtle beat seem to move from the desolate Scandinavian soundscapey techno territory in the vein of Northen Electronics and some of the Posh Isolation stuff onto a warm melody that could almost pass for a Palmbomen II track if the whole thing wasn’t a bit rough around the edges. The propulsive beat and icy ambiance of ‘Tempest of Joy’ bring to mind mid-00’s minimal techno, mutating into a slightly more abrasive mode on the following ‘Legs of the Fly’. The EP goes full circle with ‘Tarmar’, returning to synth drones while also introducing impassionately recited lyrics in Swedish that give the record a nice finishing touch.

One of the things that makes “The Torrid Eye” work so well is that Kali Malone and Acronym manage to smoothly merge their approaches into a whole that highlights both the differences and the similarities in their artistic sensibilities, most of the time bringing out the best of both worlds. The occasional hark-back to the golden era of ambient-influenced minimal techno is elegantly offset by the gritty organic sound of the analogue synthesizer that makes the record sound fresh and interesting regardless of any reference points. “The Torrid Eye” never sounds uninspired, in fact, it gives the impression that the pair could have easily churned out much more material but chose to restrain themselves in order to put together a tight, highly cohesive mini-album of deep but warm electronics that makes for a perfect soundtrack to this unexpected early arrival of Spring we are witnessing at the moment.

Info: Acronym & Kali Malone “The Torrid Eye” is out now.