Alongside running his own acclaimed DIY record label Night School Records, Glasgow native, Michael Kasparis has spent the last few years making forays into the realm of hardcore punk with his groups Anxiety and The Lowest Form. Throughout all this, his solo electronic venture, Apostille has continued to evolve with each twist and turn of the world. His audacious 2015 debut Powerless, self-released through Night School, set the template by hooking up his honest delivery to some manic expositions in electronic pop. At once minimal and courageous with intent to connect, Apostille songs race off with unchecked abandon, skittering drum machines, thick walls of sequenced synth and decidedly elastic basslines.
Choose Life is both the album Apostille chose to make and had to make. He dialed down the clown, built up a new-found confidence in his voice and melody in general, and began to feel more at home in the refuge of pop music. Recorded with Lewis Cook (Happy Meals, The Cosmic Dead) at his home studio Full Ashram, Choose Life came together in serial fashion through 2017 with Kasparis calling in when each new song was ready to commit to tape. "Fly With The Dolphin" opens the album like a cork rocketing from a bottle, dashing to the horizon with a rampant beat, synth pop throttle, and acidic edge. Melody and purpose is pushed to the fore, backed to the hilt by some brutish rhythmic production. "Feel Bad" is similarly equipped, with Kasparis sounding more himself than ever. Nothing is cloaked in reverb, obscured or distorted, this is Apostille in the broad daylight, ambitious, open-armed and vulnerable.
This is pop music as redemption, the drawing of a line, songs that step anew unto the dawn. In parallel to this emergent resolution there's also an acknowledgement of dissonance in many of the tracks, including "The Mordant," "Without Me" and "In Control," that turn a cracked mirror back onto Kasparis. The effect is often nightmarish and threatens to overwhelm, yet as the songs advance a certain deadpan humor leaks through the exaggeration leaving the punch cushioned. "Thirteen Minutes" relies on a similar transgressive approach. The electronic hand claps sting, the bassline continues mercilessly ever forward. The act of always becoming, never arriving is at the heart of Apostille, the project only exists in a state of flux, mutable and moving in both senses of the word. Mastered by Mikey Young.