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ASSASSUN – Chronic Quicksand Depression Morning

by François Zappa

Although the extremely prolific Alexander Leonard Donat is already about to release a new Vlimmer album, we didn’t want to miss the opportunity to write a short post about this album that fits so perfectly in the line of our magazine. This is the third work of ASSASSUN, released after a first EP, The World I Will Leave ,which appeared in February 2022 and Sunset Skull which saw the light just a few months later. In July of this year, appeared this Chronic Quicksand Depression Morning, released by Alexander Leonard’s own label Blackjack Illuminist Records and available in a limited edition on cassette of fifteen copies, on CD and digital.

Alexander manages to make each song sound different and original, something with merit after having released so many albums lately. He always manages to bring in an element that throws you off, a change that you didn’t expect. Here he seems to have taken as a model for the most aggressive vocal parts the one and only Mark E Smith while he makes a quite personal glitchy synthpop.

Chronic Quicksand Depression Morning starts with “Excavate” where Alexander uses a more punk or EBM register, while the music is more like glitchy synthpop. In this project he sings in English so this time we can get an idea of what he’s talking about. “Excavate” is a perfect way of starting the album because it immediately immerses you in the mood of this Chronic Quicksand Depression Morning. “Untold On My Chest” is another one of those hard-to-classify tracks that are Leonard Donat’s trademark, with slower and faster parts, synthesizers that sound between industrial and acid depending on the moment and surprising sound effects that will make you think that a group of dogs is in the studio with Alexander. “At Gunpoint” reminds me of Mark E Smith’s way of singing at the beginning to later return to a more personal register in the chorus. The music is fast and aggressive synth punk. “Fear Doubled” sounds more synthware with aggressive vocals and is one of the best tracks on the album. “Anminiotic Concrete” surprised me with those rhythms at the beginning that made me think of the music of MIA, although it doesn’t take long to take a somewhat darker path. “The Ivories and I” is a slow, sombre and deep track. “Shapeshifters”, on the other hand, is a faster, more energetic song with playful electronics and the catchiest chorus on the album. “Torpescence” mixes industrial sounds with aggressive vocals. “Joie de vivre” is a powerful composition with dreamy keyboards contrasting with the much harsher vocals. “Sun Gloating” has videogame-like sounds combined with other more scary parts. “Down on Me” is a dark and slow ending that works perfectly as closer of the album.

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