Music serves as a vessel for storytelling, and it is often the skilled composers who excel at weaving captivating narratives. Lindsay Olsen, a seasoned sci-fi dystopian storyteller, found herself confined to her apartment during the onset of the pandemic. Within the confines of her living space, she constructed a temporary synth fortress composed of keyboards and computers. Safely nestled within this instrumental stronghold, she embarked on an imaginative collaboration with fellow synth adventurers such as Soccer96 from the U.K., who added a “jacking cosmic psychedelic rock and jazz touch” to the album’s title track. Miguel Atwood-Ferguson contributed strings, while Juuwah, Brijean, Danalogue, and Sergio Machado Plim also joined forces to create Akousmatikous, a sequel to Olsen’s acclaimed 2019 release, Zdenka 2080.
The story encapsulated within Akousmatikous is equally intricate. When asked for a concise synopsis, Olsen explained, “Akousmatikous/Akousmatikoi (or acousmatic) translates to ‘sound where there is no identifiable source.’ The Akousmatikoi were a sect of Pythagorean mystics who focused on ritual, harmony, and ethical behavior. In my conceptual sci-fi story, Akousmatikous is the name of a being from another galaxy who comes to Earth to question the motives of her old friend, Zeeanori. The latter has been manipulating the minds of Earth’s inhabitants through imagery, rendering them complacent.”
While the narrative may not always be apparent, the album is a testament to Olsen’s experimental ideas. In the track “Sugar Coating,” she blends universal themes with personal insights, juxtaposing lines like “Oh my dear, we started losing when we took more than we need” with “Like we have a say when all of our fate belongs to a few unstable guys with access to our lives.” The vocals maintain a lofty and ethereal quality, while the musical settings exhibit diversity. In the enchanting “Fireflies,” Olsen explores the dichotomy of fear and joy in falling in love, accompanied by twinkling keyboards and innocent utterings such as “Bicycles through the night, kiss by moonlight.” The infectious rhythm of “Propaganda” drives a successful dance track, while contrasting low and high-toned rolling rhythms propel compositions like “The Giddy Aquatic” and “Cathartic Interlude,” which undergo captivating transformations as the mood shifts.
Salami Rose Joe Louis - 'Sugar Coating' (Official Video)Brainfeeder
“In Gradients” features looping synth sounds that intermingle with sustained chords, creating pulsating waves before giving way to gentle synth melodies. Olsen layers her voice over this backdrop, repeating the words “I would go out walking, just to look in your eyes.” Concluding with “Exhaustion and the Open Mind,” a composition blending metallic notes, shimmering synths, and a steady programmed rhythm, the protagonist of our story reflects, “We define and thus we simplify,” ultimately declaring, “Better to let you alone so you can learn to be.” Ultimately, Olsen implores listeners to keep an open mind as she continues her quest for global solutions, enduring significance, and a brighter path forward.