saine – lifelike

Saine - Lifelike coverRaise your hand if you know an artist that you’ve been following for over a decade and who has, music-wise, never disappointed you. Ever. I’ve got a couple, but the most consistent one has recently dropped his 4th full-length album: Saine‘s Lifelike.


I (and Google, for that matter) can’t even recall the first Saine track I’ve ever heard but I’m sure it was in the pre-MP3 era. But I’ve been a huge fan of this humble Finnish producer ever since. Starting in the melodic downtempo corner he has gradually worked his way through to more abstract, groovy and danceable music, while retaining a strong sense of atmosphere in his tracks.


After three well-respected albums on Cymbidium Records, his latest effort ‘Lifelike‘ has been a solo product, released only as a digital album on Bandcamp. This does not mean he has turned his back on the label world, but it has been a straightforward decision. As he puts it in his own words: “I Just really wanted to try something that I can personally shove out of my lab into the universe, no distractions, no delays etc.. It’s one of the cool things/possibilities about the present times we’re living in, so I wanted to embrace that I guess and see what happens”. Talk about embracing the (digital) world, eh?


That mindset gave birth to a pretty versatile release, and since such a release is a knife that cuts both ways, dropping these tracks on his own is probably the best decision at this very moment. Versatility can draw new crowds of listeners, but it also presents a great chance of decline in the steady fan-base who are accustomed to a certain genre or sound. Of course, pushing out tracks as long as Saine has, this is something that has not slipped his mind.


“I’ve sort of been frustrated about genre-boxes for many years – stalking whether this and that release is hiphop, house or experimental.. I can never “make up my mind” about that stuff, I just love doing music that feels good at the moment.. So I thought this release should just be a personal thing, the kind of music I love doing and flow naturally from one track to another. I don’t know how well I succeeded in terms of the music (one never knows at the time of doing it I guess) but it should all happen in the moment.”


I think everyone who has ever made music for a prolonged period of time has had that kind of frustration. In the end the funny thing that you discover as a listener, is that you’ll recognize tracks from great producers instantly, regardless of genre. Good music, after all, is personal and comes from the heart. And the heart never changes. So even if ‘Lifelike’ is different than the previous albums, it’s obviously another meticulous Saine production and it can be enjoyed as such.


The release kicks off with the nu-disco like Flex, in which a slow groovy beat forms the backdrop to a tasty bassline and jumpy lead-synths. Continuing on the disco-tip, but with a more slowed-down hip hop vibe, comes Beings. This tracks serves a grooved-out bass-lick loop, topped off with silky pads. These 2 tracks actually feel like preludes to Still Moving, which seems to combine elements from the aforementioned tracks into one spaced-out minimal floorfiller. The subtle synths and vocal cuts clear your mind, while the steady and punchy kick-clap routine makes sure your body won’t stop moving.


After that it’s time to cool down on the downtempo-like Duke, on which Saine shows that melodics are just as important as grooves. The first half of the short track features a nifty solo synth which is so sweet that the beat-switch halfway to a dubby but bombastic reggae styled instrumental kicks in even better. Since it’s clear that the groove is totally on lock it is time to expand on the melodics and atmosphere some more. Are We There Yet features a 2 minute long Rhodes-driven intro which seems pretty mellowed-out… until the beat kicks in. Since it seems the tracks are paired in threes, it’s only natural that Nudge follows the pattern, and the track adheres to its title: The composition and drums seem to give you just a little extra tap forward while you’re trying to smoothly nod your head to this abstract beat-track.


This Way seems to have all the characteristics of a French filter-house tune, but by now you should know that that’s just the shimmer of a dewdrop. Once that distraction is gone you’ll notice that the dewdrop is actually placed on a petal of a beautifully arranged fractal-like petal, which once discovered will draw you in further and further. Even without an distinct lead-melody this groovy house-based track has so much going on in the background, that you can put it on repeat forever without getting bored. Continuing on the house tip, Motor feels like an organic minimal tech-house track that focuses purely on the staggering groove and evolving bassline. Keeping the synths in check, but digressing to earlier times, the ending track Set, Rise is a throwback to the 80s. Broad pads, reverbed drums propped in the background and sweeping lead synths are the key ingredients that’ll take you by the hand and ease you to the end of the release.


Oh brother, are you the fool if you can’t spend EUR 4,- on this 33-minute trip into autumn bliss. Get it here, and follow on Facebook here. If you’re not conviced yet, all tracks have been uploaded to Saine’s Youtube channel.