Interminable, incessant, and uninterrupted are some of the English translations applied to the Sanskrit word Avīci. This is also the name of the lowest level of hell within Buddhist cosmology. So, in naming his latest EP AVĪCI (01), what might Swedish DJ Tim Bergling – better known as Avicii – be trying to tell us?
Besides the implicit promise of more to come with the inclusion of (01) in the title, Bergling uses his first new music in over a year – and since he announced his retirement from touring twelve months ago – to broadcast the fact that nothing has changed. Each of the EP’s six tracks is the tightly focused and highly polished commercial-radio fodder listeners expect from the Swede.
At a casual listen, there is nothing to fault with this collection of songs, but neither is there anything to praise. Compatriots Vargas & Lagola and Sandro Cavazza appear on Friends of Mine and Without You respectively, and while the latter track opens with folky vocals and guitar it promptly (d)evolves into the standard pop-EDM fare.
Rita Ora supplies vocals on Lonely Together, which feels like the younger sibling of her single Your Song, while AlunaGeorge’s childlike inflections would elevate What Would I Change It To if it weren’t for the surplus of repetitive piano chords, beats, and ohs in the lyrics. Canadian Billy Raffoul’s emotive and varied vocals, which persist against the push of the song’s electronic elements, ensure You Be Love is the standout song of the collection.
AVĪCI (01) is no slouch in the production department but taken in the context of his prior work it is clear that Avicii’s style is interminable, incessant, and uninterrupted.