Big Data: “2.0”


Big Data


[Wilcassettes, 2015]

by Taylor Gilliam


The rapid integration of technology into modern society has been the subject of extensive study in recent years, but musician/producer Alan Wilkis takes a different approach: commentary through his music. Even his stage name, Big Data, is an overt reference to the high-tech world that was inaccessible to the average person even one generation ago. Now, debut album 2.0 is part of the giant network, and it’s full of synths, clever lyrics, and fun collabs.

Latest single “The Business of Emotion” (ft. White Sea) hooks you from the very beginning and keeps you riveted while discussing the controversial Facebook mood experiment where the site showed users either positive or negative statuses and tracked the subsequent posted statuses, noting that the original posters’ moods were overwhelmingly influential on the moods expressed by users reading those posts.

“Dangerous” (ft. Joywave) follows, the track that brought Big Data out of the metaphorical deep web and onto the charts. Its unsettling lyrics remind us just how involved we are with technology and how interconnected it makes everyone.

In an interview with Wired—currently the only place you can stream the entire album—Wilkis said, With each song on 2.0, I set out to explore a specific issue or moment in technology,” and it succeeds.

But though commentary was the goal, the diversity in collaborative partners (and, thus, the resulting tracks) is a strong point that keeps the album interesting.

“Clean,” which features Jamie Lidell, is electro-soul—yes, it can happen, and it does on this track. “Snowed In” brings a hint of alt rock with Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo on vocals, and Kimbra’s airy voice lends to an R&B-influenced “The Glow.”

All the while, Wilkis blends “man and machine,” as he told the Wall Street Journal, with his synthesizers and guitar as “that line between the human and that tech element.” The result? A collection of tracks that you can dance to.

Just be careful who sees you dance. You might end up going viral.


Recommended tracks:

  • “Big Dater”
  • “Snowed In” (ft. Rivers Cuomo)
  • “Clean” (ft. Jamie Lidell)