Perception is/as/of Deception contains some of the most personal songs that the Detroit duo known as ADULT. – Nicola Kuperus, keyboard player, singer, songwriter, producer and Adam Lee Miller, keyboard player songwriter, producer – has ever created. The album was recorded in their basement studio, over an intense five-month period. They painted the walls black, retreating from the world, to focus on the music.

“The world is at a tipping point,” Kuperus says. “We’re surrounded by cultural dead ends and political ignorance. We’re on the precipice of a cultural pandemic.”

At a time when much of the country is confined to their homes, retreating into a basement studio to make music almost seems presentient.

“The virus intensifies the daily struggle and forces us to constantly readjust our expectations,” Kuperus continues. “Everything is on hold, with a constant fear of how we will deal with a family member or friend getting sick. One moment we are confident and feel secure. The next, we’re having a total existential crisis.”

“We were working with the theme of perception and what it means to us. What did it mean to writers such as Aldous Huxley, philosophers such as Merleau-Ponty, critics of art and literature like Goethe, and artists like Cocteau? What did perception mean to them, and what does it mean in the context of deception? How much wool is getting pulled over our eyes?”

The music on Perception/Deception combines propulsive dance beats, heavily processed vocals and slabs of avant-garde noise, that magnify lyrics exploring the ways technology shapes modern life, and not always for the good. Growling synthesizers and chiming gongs give an ominous feel to “Don’t Reduce Me,” as Kuperus investigates the way advertising distills things down to their most simplistic forms. The thumping bass of “Have I Started at the End” gives the track an upbeat feel. This contrasts with lyrics that questions the self-imposed blindness of everyday perception.

The idea of a divide between perception and reality is an interesting one, especially when our President seems unable to separate the two. One of the album’s songs, “Total Total Damage,” could be his theme song.

“Yes, undoubtedly,” Kuperus says. “It’s almost so ‘right on’ that I felt like we should have left it off the record. It’s too true and terrifying. I mean, I like to stir it up, make people wake up, pay attention, think about the choices they are making, but this is just too… I don’t know. It is total, total damage.”

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