Classic year 2000 debut album by this Scott Herren (Prefuse 73, Savath & Savalas) alias. "Agony is not what comes to mind when I think of Scott Herren's music. The 25 year old multi-instrumentalist from Atlanta has many aliases: Delarosa & Asora on Schematic, Savath & Savalas on Hefty, and Prefuse 73 on Warp. All of his styles fill a listener's ear (and heart) with ecstasy, rather than agony. So why the name? To know the answer, you must read and listen further. Agony, Delarosa & Asora's first full-length album on Schematic, is alive, bubbling with melodies and frequencies that span a range of emotions from serenely mellow to brilliantly intense. Beauty threads every piece together, leading you on a meditative walk in you thoughts. Like cellular automata, minuscule clicks and pops assemble themselves in to rhythms that convolve into a dusty drum set, riveted cymbals vibrating, as a an assortment of sweet notes simmer inside a frothy soup of melodies. The sounds reach you ears, triggering feelings, like colorful brush strokes on a bare white canvas. Each song inspires new hues and patterns, and the end result is a painting you will examine long after the music has stopped. How is it that some art provokes us to paint by numbers with our own feelings? Although a work has a unique meaning to it's creator, we interpret it in our own way, making it ours. Art that does not dictate its meaning has this effect on us. This is a goal of good art, and Agony succeeds. There is one exception though, when we sense a precept from the artists -- at the opening of the song, Agony. A crying woman's voice is torn and stretched, kept from forming words, sentences, and maybe stories of pain. The symphony of lights distracts her and she is gone, they shimmer and grow into a landscape of lush sounds and colors. The tone is one of relief, serenity, and new insight. This is a perfect metaphor for understanding this album and its odd title. From the distressed woman's voice -- the anguish we face in the name of love, we earn peace. Pain, especially where love is concerned, can yield tranquility and wisdom. Just like salt is a key ingredient in the recipe for most desserts, though we never taste it, it would not be as sweet without it. Sweet music is the by-product of this Agony. Scott's influences may not be clearly evident in his music, but they carry weight silently through everything he does. Just as the jazz fusionists of the early 1970's combined the pounding, earthen rhythms of Africa with the acid-soaked psychedelic sounds of modern America, Herren adopts an indirect influence with a modern parallel. He takes what Schematic is known so well for - solid, intricate rhythms, woven together like a tough and resilient, dark fabric, and the fuses them to a cashmere, soft-colored melodic structure. His synthesis is something all together new for Schematic and electronic music in general. Organic and earthy in place of synthetic and alien. More precious and natural, sentimental and real, conscious of its' flaws. This is the gentle touch, or rather push that Schematic needed to produce a Lily of the Valley. This is the gentle touch that you need in your music collection. Take a moment, get comfortable, and have a listen. I think you'll agree." -- Josh Kay [Note: The cover says "Part 1" but this is a complete album and there is no "Part 2"!]