Algernon Cornelius - Sarni Deli

by Sean Hewson Rating:7 Release Date:2016-04-01

Algernon Cornelius's Bandcamp page tells us: "The Sarni Deli EP is a concept record based on the eponymous protagonist; a 22nd century architect, alchemist and fugitive who sets out on a mission to propagate their own city, with hopes of imagining an alternative future to the dystopian mess in which they find themselves." It is also the first part of a sci-fi-inspired trilogy. 

Consisting of 13 tracks, The Sarni Deli EP is not really an EP, but most of the tracks are under three minutes and some of them are just short sketches and ideas like J Dilla's Donuts. Unfortunately, these tracks don't really grab the attention or the imagination like Donuts. However, the EP does hit a purple patch with the longer tracks in the middle ('San José' to 'King Skin'). The sound seems fuller and better suited to the concept.

'San José' is quite close to Oneohtrix Point Never with its use of loops and samples. 'Planet Death' is harsher, the beats more distorted. The next track, 'The Gold', is the best track on here. With its bass sample, vinyl crackles and slower beats it is like something from Endtroducing by DJ Shadow or something from the Illbient genre. King Skin has an unsettling, underwater sound. Following this, there are a few more passable, short tracks before a strong finish with Ethiopium. With its bassy sample, crackles, sped-up voices and industrial howls, Ethiopium is dark and unsettling, reminiscent of the work of Dálek.

 

The Sarni Deli EP is a bit of a mixed bag. Half of it is made up of short sketches and little ideas. The other half is made up of longer tracks where fuller arrangements are built up and the drugged-out and unsettling sounds of Illbient and Industrial Hip-Hop are used to create the dystopian atmosphere of the concept.

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