F.O.O.L Transports Listeners To A Futuristic Realm With Debut Album 'Machine'
In an increasingly complicated modern world, music allows us to take a step back from reality and temporarily enter a foreign realm. That is precisely why Swedish DJ-producer hybrid Rasmus Hermansen created his alter-ego F.O.O.L – to transport listeners on a cinematic journey that defies time, space, and sound.
Hermansen becomes F.O.O.L – short for 'fuck our ordinary lives' – when he dons his trademark mask, which is attached to a powerful machine via a network of strong metallic cables. This transition represents a shift from his ordinary world to an ethereal soundscape filled with futuristic bass. He explores this alternate universe to the fullest extent in his new album MACHINE.
The genre-defying album, which was released by powerhouse label Monstercat Uncaged, bridges the gap between music and gaming. Half of the album will be added to the soundtrack of the world-famous video game Rocket League, cementing F.O.O.L's cultural impact.
MACHINE features collaborations with heavy-hitters from the synthwave, cyberpunk, and bass music scenes including INHUMAN, Waveshaper, Extra Terra, A.L.I.S.O.N, PYLOT, and more. Each song on the project is accompanied by a video visualization to create a holistic and immersive listening experience that music lovers won't want to miss.
Check out iEDM’s in-depth review of F.O.O.L's album MACHINE below.
A Musical Odyssey Entrenched In Lore
While the album's high-quality musical production stands on its own, listeners should understand what the MACHINE means to F.O.O.L in order to achieve maximum appreciation of the sonic journey. F.O.O.L's story is that of a time-traveler who visits past and future eras, solving crimes and delivering his own brand of vigilante justice. This narrative is inspired by his longtime love for comic books, movies, and games like Blade Runner and Cyberpunk 2077.
“‘MACHINE’ is an invitation to my new sound that developed at the start of 2020. The concept behind this album is that F.O.O.L is hooked up to a machine, which is making him evolve and become more powerful, symbolic of how I have evolved my sound. For a little over a decade now, I have been creating and experimenting with all different kinds of genres across the world of electronic music. It is not until now that it finally feels like I am creating the type of music that I was destined to.” – F.O.O.L
We agree that this technologically-augmented being is creating precisely the type of art that he was destined to create. Without further ado, let's jump into the music.
Masked Hero Wields Potent Bass
“Machine,” the album's title track, delivers an intense entry into F.O.O.L's alternate universe. Ominous synths lead the way through a dramatic buildup while the visualizer deliberately hones in on the wires that comprise F.O.O.L's machine.
The drop delivers deep bass wubs that could elicit a stankface from even the most stoic listeners, while the video shows different angles of F.O.O.L hooked up to the machine, with the eyes of his mask flashing red throughout.
Skillfully oscillating between sounds and tempos while maintaining the song's overall structure and integrity, F.O.O.L clearly sets the scene for MACHINE's cinematic drama in his opening ballad.
Next up is “AGONIZE” – a collaboration with respected French synthwave producer Extra Terra. A range of gripping opera voices overlay a dramatic, synth-powered bassline in the intro, while the drop results in a triumphant but gritty midtempo beat that one could easily lock into while playing a video game.
The song's visual accompaniment depicts a red inverted triangle – one of F.O.O.L's symbols – floating amongst a mechanistic thatch of geodes that appear to resemble a mask. These pieces pulsate along with the music, creating a mesmerizing experience that leaves the heart pounding.
“Motor,” the album's third song, opens with an adventurous introduction that leverages muffled voices and police sirens to bolster its intensity. The stompy midtempo drop brings a focused intensity that makes the listener feel unstoppable.
Overlayed images of F.O.O.L's machine and its strong wires serve to remind you that this sound design is not natural, but rather augmented by mysterious, futuristic technology.
F.O.O.L collaborated with bass duo hayve on MACHINE's fourth song, “Valhalla.” The visualizer depicts the masked time-traveler venturing through the woods during a rainstorm. Wearing a thick winter coat, armed with physical weaponry, and with menacing blue-eyed owls flying in tow, a determined-looking F.O.O.L walks intently toward the camera.
The trees surrounding him are covered in an indecipherable code, with bright letters that match the owls' perilous eyes. Red lightning flashes across the screen as the synth-laden buildup yields to a heart-pounding drum and bass drop.
“Valhalla” demonstrates the impenetrable and strong-willed aura that F.O.O.L comes to showcase throughout the album.
F.O.O.L and Waveshaper teamed up to create “Encounter,” a captivating synthwave track with drums and elements of midtempo dubstep sprinkled in. The visualizer shows a masked and now hooded F.O.O.L standing next to Waveshaper, who is wearing his trademark baseball cap and glasses.
“Encounter” is an audio journey chock full of ups and downs, with the energy shifting in each phase of the song. The omnipresent synths give the song an uplifting retro feel, while dark basslines lurking in the background serve to remind that this is no recreational journey; F.O.O.L is on a perilous mission of serious magnitude.
Genre Lines Become Brilliantly Blurry
Synthwave and cyberpunk expert PYLOT joined F.O.O.L on another opera-guided track called “The Law.” Gloomy synths work alongside the early opera riffs and invite a plucky guitar bassline to join in.
F.O.O.L can be seen standing back to back - threateningly - with PYLOT, who is rocking a black motorcycle helmet. The song's second drop brings in spellbinding cyberpunk vibes while static distortion effects wreak havoc on the visualizer. In this realm, is apparent that F.O.O.L sees himself as an agent of law enforcement.
The next song is F.O.O.L's entrancing solo venture “Droid,” which is filled to the brim with synthy growls alongside a apocalyptic and mysterious techno bassline. Deliberately fuzzy visuals depicting F.O.O.L and the machine further emphasize this song's ominous tone.
The track concludes with an episode of exasperated breathing, leaving the listener wondering what might come next in this chaotic and futuristic world.
“Tension” was created alongside skilled producer JNATHYN, who F.O.O.L says has a 'nostalgic sound' that reminds him of the music he was inspired by at the beginning of the F.O.O.L project.
Like many others on the album, “Tension” makes great use of subtle sonic background elements to create the holistic 'feel' of the song. In this particular instance, orchestral riffs accompany a smooth but substantial synthwave bassline. Other creative sound samples like a ticking clock and a reverbed xylophone add to the tune's many layers.
A masked and hooded F.O.O.L can be seen holding his palm upward, with his symbolic 'A' pulsing and distorting in the space above. This song's dark intensity and... tension... make for a great tune to lock into while gaming.
Just when you think you have a clear understanding of the energy MACHINE is bringing as an album, F.O.O.L and A.L.I.S.O.N hit you with a change-up on “Vibrance.” The first clue that this track is a change of pace is the visualizer.
We still see an inanimate F.O.O.L standing attached to his machine, but something is different – he is shrouded in a pulsating golden essence. This bright coloring jives well with the energy in this song, which turns out to be a chill and dreamy ambient house tune. “Vibrance” leaves listeners with a renewed sense of wonder for what the remainder of the album holds in store.
Keeping the relaxed 'momentum' going from the prior song, F.O.O.L crafts a melodic techno track with a mystifying female vocal in “Rewind.” It's a high-energy piece that somehow conveys intensity in a non-threatening way.
Conceptually, the song's visuals are unique from the rest of the album, in that the images shown are literally the visuals from previous songs – but in rewind. With some heavy-hitting bass in the album's early songs, and a welcome air of lightness in the middle section, the stage has been set for the last several songs on MACHINE.
Surprises Around Every Corner
The previously released “Duality” is another solo output for F.O.O.L. This track is dripping in East Asian influence – both sonically and visually. The mechanized time-traveler is depicted wearing a traditional warrior outfit and brandishing a sword while an airy flute buildup gives way to a punchy synthwave drop.
MACHINE is uniquely efficient at telling a story with minimal use of lyrics. Without a word, it is clear that "Duality" is placing F.O.O.L at the convergence of good and evil – a battle that is constantly fought not just in the real world, but in this album itself.
For “Survive,” F.O.O.L locks horns with another versatile artist possessing a mask and a loaded character narrative: INHUMAN. The song is gripping from the opening seconds, when a suspenseful smattering of synths flickers before a sinister cyberpunk bassline begins to brew.
The drop blends cyberpunk sound design with a dubstep-style bassline, making for a grimy and cinematic final product. As the song surpasses its halfway point, a surprising tickle of Middle Eastern soundscapes enters the fray. A haunting string of violin riffs close out the track in captivating fashion.
The penultimate song on the project is called “Mothership.” This track sees F.O.O.L reignite his partnership with bass duo SKUM, who previously appeared on the song “Hysteria” on F.O.O.L's 2020 EP Mercenary.
The imagery is noticeably different from prior tracks. It depicts the galactic sky beyond the Earth, when a bright light emerges in the distance. It is the same piercing red color as F.O.O.L's haunting eyes. The light is accompanied by an enchanting gaggle of spiritual voices.
This distant light turns out to be F.O.O.L's monumental, pyramid-shaped spaceship, which is making a beeline toward our home planet to the tune of a nasty, bumpy cyberpunk drop.
“Mothership” is one of many examples of songs on MACHINE that employ a tremendously suspenseful, synth-powered buildup between drops one and two. The second drop brings more of a dubstep flavor to the cyberpunk sound design, continuing to showcase F.O.O.L's versatility.
“Origin” is the final creation on the MACHINE project. It lowers the intensity to send listeners out on a dreamy synthwave journey that boasts a cutting electric guitar and graceful vocal echoes.
The final visual that viewers are treated to is F.O.O.L descending from his spaceship towards the Earth. While the song emanates a calming energy, this chapter of F.O.O.L's story concludes while shrouded in mystery.
Turning The Ordinary Into The Exceptional
When Rasmus Hermansen set out to create the character F.O.O.L – and subsequently the album MACHINE – his aim was to help himself and his listeners escape the monotony of daily life through the power of soundwaves. F.O.O.L's story triggers an air of nostalgia while simultaneously leveraging the mysterious nature of the future.
Seamlessly blending elements of midtempo bass, synthwave, and drum and bass (among others), MACHINE unequivocally delivers on F.O.O.L's promise to take listeners on a moving journey. Gripping visuals and clean animations further enhanced the storytelling process, making MACHINE a truly comprehensive and riveting experience.
With a debut album as impressive as MACHINE, this time traveling enigma has left iEDM and the rest of his listeners salivating to find out what the next step in his adventures will be.
Photos and videos courtesy of F.O.O.L and Monstercat.
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