Album ReviewsReviews

Barbarossa “Imager” – album review


by Susan Shelton

James Mathé, musically known as Barbarossa, is politely drifting back into the world of indie electronic music with his new album Imager. Barbarossa’s new album is organic in nature yet heavily influenced by pop and electronica. With the exception of the track “Imager,” which is quite the earworm, most of the album blends from song to song in a lethargic and melancholy appropriation of mellow vocals and harmonic electronic tones.

The slightly disjointed combination of vocals and electronic beats are not only typical of Barbarossa, but of any music that attempts to combine alternative rock with electronica. The indie rock persuasion does not need pointing out. On a first listen to the album, one of the most notable features of the music are the distantly folk rhythms that back each track. There are also pop influences present in the speed of the mixing. This incredible mix of genres can be attributed to Barbarossa’s past work and his steady progression into the electronic music genre.

Imager is oddly paced, starting with the fastest track and gets gradually slower and more monotonous. If Mathé got bored at the end of this album, it is evident and unavoidably carries itself into the listening experience of others. Slower pace does not have to mean uninteresting music, but in the case of this album, where the vocals already induce sleep, the slower songs are almost completely void of value.

Overall, this album is at the upper end of mediocre, but has some interesting songs on it. Even the slowest songs that are boring on the surface will become catchy after a third or fourth listen. For people who are already fans of Barbarossa and for new fans alike, this album is a taste of something new. Genre clashing considered, this album flows well from track to track.

Barbarossa’s Imager will be available on the 11th of May, 2015 or the 12th of May in the United States and it is available for pre-order on iTunes.

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