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12 Jul 2021
by brian.hioe | Feature, Reviews
Electric Soul presents reviews of recent EPs. This will be a regular feature from now on.
DELTA 08 by Okinawa-based producer Tasoko is a sleek, compact EP.
The first track, Ajal, with its heavy bass and layered instrumentation serves to build anticipation. Ajal provides a sense of transition, as if guiding listeners into what follows. One has the sense of riding an elevator and staring at the sleek lights on the way up.
Arc kicks things into high gear with a sharp increase in tempo. The melodies are repetitive, hypnotic, and maintain a sense of strain. The complexity of the rhythms is combined with a steady, progressive motion, and no clear sense of climax.
The EP’s last track, Reflection, proves rhythmically similar to Arc, but denser, and adds to the complexity. The beats are stronger with Reflection, and the layering of the rhythms is more compressed than the other two tracks. Reflection completes the trajectory of the two other tracks, then, while also proving more ornate and baroque. Reflection is heavier than the other two tracks but still maintains a light touch.
DELTA 08 is a self-encompassed album, with tracks that are complete in and of themselves, but which are also highly complementary. DELTA 08 may not be for everybody but it’s a rewarding, small EP.
The title track of Sascha Braemer’s EP Who Died and Made You King is a strong one.
Guided by a powerful beat and vocals with a light touch, the track is restrained yet has presence. This track is dark in tone, suggesting quiet anger, without being overly brooding. Otherwise, the various elements of the track fit together like clockwork, for a track where everything falls into place smoothly.
The Fedele Revenge Mix of the same track is less subtle, strengthening the beat and reshaping the track to have a linear structure. Some may find the elements of the track to fit together less well in the opening, but the track picks up midway through and delivers on hard momentum. One expects this second half of the track to come off quite strongly when played on a club sound system.
Mars 96, the last track on the EP, is a different sort of animal. The first third and the last third of the song are the most interesting, with the first third intriguing the listener. The middle third of the track comes off as a bit bland, relying on alternating notes a bit too much. The close of the track has an intriguing mid-range riff, adding something unique to the track. Although structurally somewhat hard to categorize, it is not unsatisfying.
Jonathan Kaspar’s Invert Drift is a solid EP, if a bit wanting in development.
The first track, the eponymous Invert Drift, builds anticipation with its high synth tones and menacing bass.
Last Romance moves things up a register, creating a similar sense of expectation. The tension is higher here though, resolving into a satisfying bass underbeat that is likely to be rewarded by a response from the crowd.
Off the Shore adopts a very different approach, putting the bass first and layering other elements on top of the base. Snares juxtaposed with the alternating notes create a nice sense of contrast between the highs, lows, and mids. Off the Shore is the stand-out track of the EP, continuing the light sci-fi thematics of the other two.
Invert Drift may serve the purposes of many DJs, in facilitating smooth transitions while creating excitement on the dance floor. The EP won’t fit all circumstances, but in the right place, it could be highly effective.
Not all of the tracks on Heft’s Hermitage can be classified as dance music, but the album is an elegant one. Tracks worth noting are the second track, Ember, which combines ethereal vocals with heavy beats. Without vocals, the same song as presented as Mute--Track Three--is also satisfying, but the pairing of vocals and predominating beats in Ember lends it a distinctive air.
Saudade, the fourth track is more mysterious, as if gazing into quiet mist from the top of a mountaintop. One Man Cult, however, is somewhat overdone, as a clumsy merger between the album’s airy style and a dance track.
Similarly, the album’s remixes primarily reshape Mute and Ember into more traditional dance tracks. Track 12, the After the Pulse Remix, manages this ably by skillfully balancing heavier drums with the original melody. The same can be said of Track 7, the Ember Keiss Remix, which nonetheless preserves the vocals.
All in all, the album is a rather original one. While not to the point of the avant-garde, the album manages to evoke sounds rarely heard in dance music.