X: THC: X: The Human Condition

RIYL: early Nine Inch Nails, Massive Attack, Portishead

This is one branch in the music tree that we didn’t see coming: adult contemporary trip-hop. X: The Human Condition, the brainchild of Michael Nova, is a giant multimedia experience. There is a film, which tells the story of two people driven to change the world through art. The soundtrack of that film sounds like the kind of thing Trent Reznor might assemble if he were feeling vulnerable. The songs slink, bloop and bleep along like the soundtrack for an alt-spa (we’re not sure if alt-spas actually exist, but they should), and possess an ache that Massive Attack’s last album lacked. It doesn’t always work: “Mr. Happy” with its falsetto chorus is more corny than heartfelt, and anyone willing to name a song “The Creature from the Blackened Room” better prepare for some sniggers, even if the music for the track isn’t half bad. When the album’s on, though, it’s on; “The Human Flood” is just begging to be used in a movie trailer, and “Tag You’re It” explores funkier territory. Nova’s not the best singer in the world, and X: The Human Condition will not rewrite the music history books, but for anyone looking to come down from an already chill party, this will do the trick. (Hypnotical Entertainment 2010)

X: The Human Condition MySpace page
Click to buy X: The Human Condition from Amazon