PRINCESS CENTURY returns with the Cosmic Disco of new release Progress…
When she’s not banging the drums for Canadian electronic outfit Austra, Maya Postepski adopts the mantle of Princess Century to purse her own curious electronic experiments.
2013’s Lossless release had seen Postepksi playing around with a lo-fi minimalist aesthetic. But the material on new release Progress delivers a much more expansive and bolder vision. Described as “minimalist cosmic disco psychedelia”, there’s certainly much more muscular and robust tunes on Progress that also aren’t afraid to dip into dancepop territory.
This isn’t new territory for Postepski, who was also part of sleazy synth outfit Trust during its early days. Like Trust, there’s often a dark and unsettling vibe to the material on Progress which manages to get as far away from the classic interpretation of synthpop as possible (without actually leaving the planet).
Opener ‘Bros Vs UFOs’ has a simple melodic structure to it overlaid with a percussive beat that’s difficult to avoid tapping your feet to. ‘Sunscream’, meanwhile, sees Postepski go disco with a Moroder-esque sequence of bass beats and spacey melodic trills.
This progress (if you will) of Postepski’s sound had already been hinted at on the widescreen electronic goodness that was ‘Rendezvous’ – a track that featured on a 2013 compilation album from Stellar Kinematics (whose Opale shares producer credits on ‘Sunscream’ here).
Unlike Lossless, Postepski has also kept the new material lyric free. Rather than being a weakness of the album, this gives the tracks more of a cohesive element – as well as a cryptic air to them.
The broody and moody ‘Sunrise 101/Last Disco’ delivers one of the album’s strongest tracks. There’s a warm wash of synths underlying a melodic arpeggio that builds up into a collage of chugging rhythms. It’s a dark engine of sleazy synth goodness and it’s not difficult to see where some of the ideas that underpinned Trust were dreamt up.
Equally, ‘Rose’ is a great combo of dubby percussion and atmosphere. ‘Domestic’ offers an unsettling detuned synth sound over its repetitive rhythms and warm, electronic heart. Meanwhile, the sparse composition of ‘Fata Morgana’, with its subtle oriental synths, offers up a more introspective moment.
Closer ‘Metro’ is another winner with its mournful synths and a perfect endpoint for the album.
It’s clear that Postepski has a creative streak that can’t be contained by any one band or outfit. Her talents also reveal a broad variety of intriguing approaches, of which Princess Century is merely one.
Progress is a perfect choice for people who like to strike a balance between sleazy synths and immersive soundscapes.
Progress is released by Paper Bag Records and is available now.
He is responsible for design outfit Arc23 as well as writing for outlets such as J-Pop Go, Electronic Sound, All The Anime, Manga Entertainment and The Electricity Club.
He has been featured in a variety of press and media features including the Metro and Japan Update Weekly.