Humans are known to be a forward-thinking species, driven by the restlessness of ambition and the pursuit of unconquered horizons. Yet, as certain global populations accelerate forward in often alienating and frightening ways, many of us find ourselves looking back, reflecting on the halcyon days past. In music, there are a handful of artists who are able to draw on their futuristic thinking, as well on their retro realities, composing music which maintain a timeless appeal and endlessly engaging aural experiences. One such artist is Andrew Hetherington, an electronic music producer hailing from Skipton in regional Australia. Since 2017 he has steadily produced a variety of synth-driven projects ranging from relaxing chillout and downtempo sounds, to synthwave, synthpop, as well as cinematic and trance music, among other electro flavors.
Andrew Hetherington’s latest project, is the 9 track concept album, “Afterlife”, which is inspired by scientific research carried out in near death experiences (NDEs), which confirm that consciousness exists after physical death and that the soul leaves the body to survive eternally. With the esurience and fusion of electronic genres in so many musical landscapes today, the blend of ambient, dream-like soundscapes and synthwave-driven melodies of Hetherington’s distillation of ideas and intricate tapestries of sound, could not be more pertinent right now.
This seems like the opportune moment for Andrew Hetherington to reach out and bring his music into the lives of Millennials to Generation Z, who will be fascinated by his uniquely blended sound on “Afterlife”. Vintage synths create a warm, emotional glow which is simultaneously juxtaposed with the rhythmic drive of the percussion, and the hypnotic swirling of timbres and melodies, conjured up by the guitars, pianos, strings, and sweeping choral interludes.
It is difficult to overstate how crucial these aforementioned sonic modulations are in creating the unified and cohesive identity which marks the Hetherington oeuvre. Don’t be alarmed though, you won’t find over-complex concepts and inconceivable abstracts with Andrew Hetherington’s music. His master stroke is his ability to be able to interchange registers, switching from futuristic to nostalgic, and physical to spiritual, without losing site of maintaining the accessibility in his sound.
From the moment the album opens with the “Dead And Buried”, it slowly becomes clear that Andrew Hetherington knows his sound, and know who he is. Meaning every single song bears clear hallmarks of his specific aural aesthetic. As you move forward you will also realize that the title of each track indicates which part of the journey you are on. From “Crossing Over”, to “Welcome to the Afterlife” and “Meet Your Maker”, Hetherington keeps you locked in, and engaged with his musical narrative.
The twisting synths, shimmering guitars and broiling basslines keep updating the musical formula which never drag down the listener. In fact, in only a few other occasions has music of this aesthetic and concept, felt so organic, so human.
Andrew Hetherington is also an expert of tranquil textures which are immaculately layered and then blended with contrasting moments of momentum. This is brilliantly showcased, in both “Immortal” and “Home for Eternity”. Hetherington also propels his music beyond the presumed habits and traditions of the electronic genre. Listening to a track like “J.C.” for example, it never crosses your mind that it may have been made with a computer in a basement.
The brief and concise “Karma” increments the intensity of the album with a dynamic drum arrangement, before the choral voices settle in, on “Hark! The Angels”. The final track, “Paradise”, has the fundamentals nailed – beat, melody, and texture. Overall the album manages to remain intriguing throughout, lacking any moments where a theme outstays its welcome, or a filler track pads out the recording.
“Afterlife” makes for a fantastic listen. Production is top notch, and it’s clear that everything has been very purposely placed in the mix to fully execute the concept. This is another exceptional entry in Andrew Hetherington’s very solid discography. The album “Afterlife” releases officially on June 23rd 2021.