The Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
In this morning’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we shine our gaze on Anton Cullen, a multi-instrumentalist and producer hailing from Dublin. The veteran musician has experience in a bevy of genres, but most recently, he’s turned his focus toward EDM. Cullen has a full record in the works due out before the end of the year, but leading up to that record he’s been unveiling a series of intriguing new singles. The first of which, ‘Breaking Through,’ is already out. The second, ‘Warfare,’ was just released. Let’s delve into it and see if it’s worth including in one’s indie music collection.
Cullen describes ‘Warfare’ as a piece “inspired by the mental, emotional, and spiritual battles that often take place in one’s mind, as opposed to an external, physical war.” Entirely instrumental, ‘Warfare’ is a bombastic piece that clocks in at three minutes. There’s a fiery, intense nature to the track, something that’s accented by understanding the song is a journey through chaos and one's own internal strife.
More often than not, EDM that comes across my desk is lackluster and particularly boring: the rises and falls are predictable, the music feels void of emotional context, and it’s all fine and good for the dance floor, but missing some key elements of worthwhile artistry. This, of course, is due to the indie community for the genre being absolutely inundated - singer songwriters and hip hop artists suffer similar issues. Cullen breaks the mold of his counterparts, I’d argue, with ‘Warfare’ having several layers of depth.
The beats on ‘Warfare’ are fantastically original, beautifully complemented by the driving, aggressive nature of the synthesizers that cascade around the soundscape of the track. Cullen doesn’t get bogged down in ostentatious over-production; the snappy run-time of the track suites it, and Cullen’s composition feels sharp and consistent because of it. One can't help but notice that Cullen clearly has a vision for his music. That's immensely vital and will serve him well as he moves forward. Too often, indie EDM is aimless. This isn't.
‘Warfare’ is a strong indicator of Cullen being an EDM producer to keep tabs on in the independent scene. Frankly, there aren’t enough of them. The production quality of ‘Warfare’ is incredible, even down to the promotional materials like the simple, but elegant visualizer video linked below. Give it a spin, EDM fans. You have an album to look forward to later this year.