Apparently there's been a fair bit of hype surrounding the release of this record, the debut of both producer Alex Coone and fledgling label Tri-Angle. The short answer to whether it lives up to the press furore is yes, infinitely yes, but this is a record that deserves a whole lot more attention and over-zealous praise. The first listen though, during a late night bout of insomnia found me gripping my headphones in disbelief, wishing someone would wake up and join me outside so I could rant maniacally about how good it is. Follow up listens left a less overawing effect but a great deal of respect nevertheless. It kind of sounds like Mount Kimbie dreaming about living in a magical, semi-aquatic utopia with Burial, Fourtet, Air, Sigur Ros, Boards of Canada, James Blake and Baths for company.
The overall sound can't really be quantified, in places it's shamelessly lovely slo-mo pop melancholia, in others heavily sedated Hiphop and fringe Dubstep being re imagined through the medium of a beautiful dream. It sounds like a sum of parts of all the aforementioned artists but stunningly re-interpreted without ego or pretension. It is easily the best thing to listen to at 1 am when sleep seems impossible and it is definitely something that everyone can enjoy, an increasingly difficult accolade to achieve in this rapidly evolving world of music. By all means buy it and bask in its loveliness for as long as you can bear it, or at least until he releases something else.
As the number of apparent of influences would suggest the five tracks are nicely varied, See Birds (Moon) is a perfectly layered exercise in slow motion Dub, kind of like Mount Kimbie, King Midas Sound and Burial coming together for a one off collaboration. Regret making mistakes follows with the most upfront sounds in the bunch; there's certain elements of Joy Orbison and Sepalcure's styles ingrained between a shuffling two-step beat. However its on Big Boy where the dreamy warmth begins to flood the record; chopped up rave vocals pluck at your ears, lush warm synths lull you into a happy trance and the whole world turns a bit softer round the edges, coming across like a perfect balance between Four-Tet, Sigur Ros, Air and Baths. Dream Out is exactly what the name suggests, ever so gentle and soothing but possessing of hearty bass stabs that serve to make the experience even more resonant. The final track See Birds (Sun) continues in a similar vein, sedately washing to and fro with sunny string arrangements and bubbling aquatic ephemera before mutating seamlessly into a world of cosmic 4/4 euphoria that Four-Tet or Caribou would be proud to call their own. Lush.
On the first listen this was a bit underwhelming, I'd read on Boomkat that Dagger Paths sounded like Burial channeling Ennio Morricone and without paying it the attention it deserved it was difficult to see where they were coming from. However after repeat listens it turns out that this really is something quite special; the combination of hauntological vocals, raw instrumental sounds and sprawling, almost inadvertently epic compositions all amount to something that could well be seen as a collision of the minds of the aforementioned musical luminaries.
The opening track Miarches builds with echoing cries and guitar loops that pervade the track with said Morricone-esque drama, ponderous drums and a lo-fi bassline driving it onwards to epic lengths before muted vocal entwines itself through the other elements, drawing it together for a suitable close. Hoylake Misst is where the collision of Burial and Morricone first emerges, although the likeness could also be drawn to the unsettling noise experiments of Demdike Stare or Bugskull. The effect is incredibly dramatic, evoking an exhausting, danger ridden odyssey through a hostile desert landscape, the drums driving hammer blows of suspense through the track. There's no letting up either, Visits is an suitably powerful follow up and Glory Gongs adapts a slightly more contemporary style; combining a powerful bass riff with a lo-fi guitar loop before perfectly chopped and screwed vocals begin to echo through, stalling the track in places and gently setting around it in others. If Your Girl introduces a more coherent but suitably filtered vocal which a bit like how it would sound if Burial sampled Folk or Blues instead of Rnb, before The Light brings proceedings to a suitably haunting close. If you want more their follow up Rattling Cage continues in a similar vein, even providing a slightly more accessible aspect to what can only be described as a powerfully individual and resonant sound.
Asura/Anenon - Silver Trees/Damiel:
Round two from Non-Projects features Asura and labelmate Anenon in formidable form. Everything from drones to warped folk and jungle breaks come together in a suitably inspired and diverse collection of tracks. In the wake of his peerless debut album and a raft of remix exclusives Asura is on fine form, composing rich sonic tapestries from a slew of diverse and unlikely sources. Anenon is by no means overshadowed, especially considering that this is his first official release. All three of Anenon's tracks are an incredible glimpse of what he is capable of, though similar in style to Asura his music contains an astonishing organic quality, grafting together a variety of styles and influences to create something more akin to the work of Amon Tobin. With their third member, singer and multi-instrumentalist Ana Caravelle, set to release her debut album in September (you can grab an awesome Shigeto remix of one of her new tracks here), things are looking extremely promising in the Non Projects camp.
Of the seven tracks on offer The Ocean is the most attention grabbing, bringing insane jungle drums and nerve shattering high end synths to blow you away over its mere two minute running time. A growing favourite however is Sleepers, the most unnerving piece of brilliance I've heard in a while. It sounds like a collaboration between Amon Tobin, Oneohtrix Point Never and Downliners Sekt, if that doesn't sell it to you then nothing will. As far as Anenon is concerned pick of the bunch has to be Retold Endless, which starts out with shimmering, stepping drum rolls, colliding with one another then drifting into an entirely other dimension full of synth dreams and gentle 4/4 beats, the tune seems to have run its course but it unexpectedly rebuilds towards a breathtaking crescendo that tops off the album nicely.