Inspired by the retro-futurism of the still-sputtering 19th century power station in Northern Wales, across the estuary from Chop’s studio, the events of his life, and Chop’s collection of hip-hop, disco, new wave and minimal synth records. A record of extreme personal significance to Chop, the creation of its music conversely helped him to silence the chaos of an increasingly neurotic world and soothe the pain of his loss of his father.
Unsurprisingly, Illuminate traverses a number of moods. The jackhammer pounding of ‘Building Blocks’ segues into the moody but serene ‘Picture Box’. The futuristic soundscape ‘Arcane Future’ takes an uplifting melodic turn, revealing Chop’s hopes for a more perfect tomorrow. Tape loops and effects, field recordings and drum programming all play a role in Illuminate, and as the majority of the tracks were assembled far away from a detailed Pro-Tools grid, in what Chop calls a “mutant modern way of editing things,” This approach gives the songs a life of their own – equally electronic and human. Though it’s the most intellectual approach Chop has taken with his music to date, it retains a spontaneous feel throughout, and despite its technical accomplishments, Illuminate is Chop’s most intimate and personal album yet.