EP Review: Iuliano - De-Algorithm (2022)

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Picture Credit: Iuliano

Iuliano - De-Algorithm
Release Date: April 08, 2022
Label: Quiteloud Records
Format: Digital
Duration: 16:56
Origin: Italy

Most of us will know these situations. You have a harmless chat about the weather with your neighbour, and some hours later your social media or search engine feeds are crammed with advertisments for holiday resorts, sun shields, umbrellas or whatever fits the exact direction of your previous dialog best. Or, you either accidentally or for research reasons click on a video by Jordan Peterson or Milo Yiannopoulos, and next time you refresh your video streaming service it looks like the wet dream of a neo-fascist conspiracy theorist.
Italian artist Iuliano has taken on this subject, the subject of algorithm and their power as a driving force for the digital future on his latest EP called "De-Algorithm". On five tracks, this concept release remorselessly shoots against the mechanisms of digital capitalism and their minsathropic ways - and thus, Iuliano hereby shows the means of a system that literally stops at nothing to follow its purpose.

There may be many ways on how to interpret this concept EP, here is mine:
The sonic tale is opened by the song 'On the Radio', a proggy and folky anthem that introduces the story's main character to the listeners. This protagonist whose cartoon representation drawn by Walton Zed closely resembles real-life Iuliano finds himself on a journey to himself. Thus, his perspective changes frequently from planet Earth's surface and a birds-eye view upon it. With a certain Space Rock vibe and progressive psychedelia presented via echoed vocals, the change of perspectives is realized beautifully.

The psychedelic theme slowly vanishes and a Floyd-like Prog Rock motif becomes central in the tale's second chapter 'How did it go?'. An atmospheric chorus marks the ethereal climaxes between massively crunchy riffs and an impressive arc of suspense. The magic mirror that the character utilized to change between worlds and perspectives on them has cracked. The protagonist then finds himself amid a digital dystopia - a lifeless and hostile space ruled by the algorithm. Reaching for his mirror again, the protagonist gets sucked into it and hence he disappears.

Track number three, 'Uranus or Mars' takes both, story and music to a higher level. Driven by a massive Post Punk bassline, a dreamy soundscape is enfolded on which the story leads its protagonist to an interstellar journey. The main character himself though only wants to escape this odyssey, and he knows the one direction he wants to go to: home.
As the musical dreams intensifies and the music is strongly approaching realms of Psychedelic Funk, the character experiences that one thing that happens in so many dreams - he is falling. And during that seemingly endless drop down, the algorithm becomes noticable again. Musicked via electronic glitches and depicted via mathematical terms in the video, the protagonist realizes that he has not left the digital force's realms at all.

By the time this review was written and published, the last two tracks' videos have not yet been online. You will find them on Iuliano's YouTube channel later (links in the article's bottom section).
After the Dream Rock and Psych Funk trip on 'Uranus or Mars', the following track 'The Last Time' has a very sobering character. This very artistic and jazz-influenced Pop Rock hymn can be regarded as a sarcastic and honest reckoning with people's behaviour on social media. Topics such as ghosting, catfishing, scam, or the whole business around bodyshaping and bodyshaming can be found in the soft and catchy vocals of this song.

Finally, on 'Stay whre you are' the sounds become very glitchy and wavy. On this song which is the album's most electronic tune, a voice warns us to stay out of their world. But is it still the protagonist talking to us, or has the narrative perspective changed to the algorithm's point of view?
There may be an absolute answer to this - there may also be room for interpretation.
And then it is over, and the listeners will find themselves thinking of the EP's content, and probably listen to it for at least once more. Although it being only 17 minutes long, "De-Algorithm" turns out to be a treasure chest full of shiny little secrets and gorgeous details. Presented on artistic and gentle sound, Iuliano has hereby created an astonishing sonic piece of criticism of the digitalized world we live in.


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