Snapcase - Designs for Automotion (Cover Artwork)


Designs for Automotion (2000)


3 years ago, when this CD first came out, I was incredibly excited about it. Finally, the follow-up to Progression through Unlearning! Which was one of my favorite albums ever. After popping this into my CD player the day it was available to me, I was appaled. The guitars were weak, the bass was mixed so high in pitch you couldnt hear it, and the songs sounded boring. I gave up on Snapcase right there. And threw this CD in a pile on the side of my room where it sat for nearly a year. When I moved, I saw it, and for some odd reason, gave it another listen. Im glad I decided to do that.

Many people label Designs for Automotion as Snapcase simply repackaging there previous album. But in my opinion that could not be farther from the truth! This album has a dynamic to it that many people who listen to it for the first time never seem to realize, that this could almost be considered a concept album.

This whole album sounds mechanical not as a side effect of bad song writing, but in a effort to further convey the message of the lyrics!

Designs for Automotion is mainly concerned with comparing humans to computers, and how we should start to live rather then simply work and do as we are told. It is a positive message set inside of a negative example, which makes the message many times more powerful when it is found by the listener. Everything on here is played unbelievably tight, its ridiculous how flawless and almost processed some of this stuff sounds. And the Singer has almost a robotic rasp on top of his signature vocal style to further lend to the atmosphere. It could almost be compared to industrial, but I wouldnt go quite that far. And of course, the lyrics are personal, insightful, and smart, which can be expected of a Snapcase album.

As a concept this album works beautifully, musically it is good but flawed. Target, Typecast Modulator, Twenieth Nervous Breakdown, and Break the Static are all awesome. But the rest is either pretty average, or just not very memorable. There are no out and out bad songs, but only a few greats. Normally I would give this album a 8 or a 9, but I have yet to mention its greatest downfall. The mix.

The mix on this album is bad. Almost horrible, but not quite. The bass is almost completely inaudible, making the songs sound hollow with only the kick drum giving them any weight. And the guitar is rather low and high pitched in the mix, making them lose there heaviness as well. The songs are not as heavy as they should be because of the mix, which makes them lose a bit of there power, but the drum mix is nice with a good poppy snare, and the vocals dont overpower anything, so it doesnt ruin the experience.

In the end, this is a album you wont like on initial listen. It sounds fake and mechanical, and the guitar sound isnt as heavy as you would expect. But upon further listens you might just hear the heart beating inside these songs mettalic shells. And thats when it becomes great, and distinguishable from the rest of the Snapcase catalog. I only wish the mix was better...but its still a good album, and I recommend it to anyone who wants a deeper or more complicated listening experience then is the norm.