Album Review: Ital Tek – Outland

[Planet Mu; 2020]

Apocalypse signs are now ubiquitous, and if coronavirus didn’t dominate the news cycles, we might be hearing about the swarms of locusts three times the size of New York City ripping through Africa and the Middle East or the fact that the United States Pentagon just declassified and released three videos of UFO sightings (so yeah, I guess UFOs are a real thing now and not just folklore). It feels like the old world we have been living in our entire lives is gone and we’re all in some new and unfamiliar world that is downright frightening.

Ital Tek’s Outland could easily be the soundtrack for the transition from our old existence to our new one. This might be a new type of listening experience for a lot of folks; most listeners might not even know how to digest music like this, but I have faith in you, good reader, because you’re not like most listeners. If you think you’re mentally and emotionally stable enough to handle something that you’re not going to find on any commercial radio station, sit down and strap yourself in for quite a ride, because Outland takes you on one heck of a journey. 

The opening track “Chamber Music” is a seductive mistress; it beckons the listener to get closer, to come inside and discover what sounds await. There’s something about Ital Tek’s music that sets it apart; his music has a certain romance to it, a certain emotional quality that some may actually find to be disconcerting. His music is cinematic. This album could very easily be the soundtrack to one of those epic adventure/romance films that hardly ever get made anymore. For those of you old enough to remember, it would be the kind of movie that would come on 2 VHS cassettes because it’s so long. 

If “Chamber Music” wasn’t alluring enough, the following “Open Heart” is like a love letter to a beautiful stranger. It’s years of pent-up emotion and sexual energy that one carries inside – entirely too personal to share; the kind of intimacy that’s too raw and too real to experience with a loved one. Sometimes we can only feel this kind of passion for a complete stranger. “Open Heart” is the answer to the question of why people have love affairs, why people need love affairs, why people live double lives. 

If you’re still listening, “Deadhead” assaults you with techno-manipulation. While previous track “Open Heart” begged you to let your guard down and to get vulnerable, “Deadhead” exploits those vulnerabilities and takes control; Ital Tek’s music is master and you are its servant.

Don’t be surprised if you find your body moving to the pummelling aural assault you’re experiencing. You don’t have a choice in the matter now, so just enjoy your body’s movements. You see, the pain is in the struggle itself, so just let go and feel it. This music shows you that there is such freedom in letting go of control. It’s one of life’s little paradoxes that only a small percentage of humanity will ever really understand. 

There are seven more tracks on Outland, and each of them stirs emotions that are overwhelming and take you to places inside oneself that are simultaneously brand new and somehow also oddly familiar. One’s imagination is like a muscle that has to be exercised to become stronger. Put this album on and lay down with it and let it take you somewhere.