Thursday, September 23, 2010

"ESKMO" LP Review

ESKMO's self-titled debut is a satisfying full-length introduction to the world from recently signed Ninja Tunes artist/producer Brendan Angelides. The sound is tighter, the tracks are generally more concise and, for the most part, more lyrical than some of his earlier single and EPs, but ESKMO has managed to successfully transplant the haunting rhythms, ethereal melodies, thunderous bass, and syncopated, natural beats from many of those earlier works into this new, tightly-knit LP.

ESKMO's first single under the Ninjatunes label, and the first single from the new LP, "Cloudlight" was released with this music video, on August 11th, and later on it's own EP "Cloudlight/Come Back" in early September.

ESKMO's unique sound has made him one of my favorite artist/producers both live and in the studio to date, and all of his talents are on display in this new LP. One aspect of Angelides' many talents on greater display in this LP is his voice. In many of his previous singles, his vocal contributions took on a minimalist tone, such as in the singles "Harmony" and "Let Them Sing." While this new work steers mainly toward the minimalist approach, his voice has become a much more integral component of the music itself, such as in the dirty sing-along anthem, "We Got More." Alternatively, on the track "The Melody," the distorted hum of his voice works in tandem with the synthesized elements to create an odd, yet pleasing tonal hybrid that builds until the song deliberately collapses under its own weight, and Angelides' own voice sputters the name of the song in sync with a wild flowing bass line.

Angelides' vocals are not as successful on every track. As a first track, "Cloudlight" is somewhat of a weak start for an album that goes through such a range of natural sounds, and heavy beats. Once "ESKMO" finally hits its pace, it loses some of that momentum with the track "Communication," in which Angelides' uses both his own vocal range and various distortions to create the driving melody of the track, though quite unsuccessfully in my opinion. His voice is an amazing compliment to what he has done well throughout his career, and even works as a predominant component in some tracks, but as a sole driving force, falls short.

As a whole, the LP is a great exposition of ESKMO as one of Angelides' two musical identities, relying heavily on deep bass, and syncopated rhythms to create an eerily mystical, yet danceable experience for the listener. The focus on his vocal contributions worked as a compliment in some cases, but not on their own. Ultimately, this does not detract from the quality of what I would say is a solid release under this new label.

The LP was released with exclusive availability through iTunes on September 21st, and will be widely released through other outlets on October 4th.

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