Aeroc: R+B=?
Ghostly International

Geoff White's Aeroc project will always have a special place in textura's heart, as it was Viscous Solid, White's debut full-length under the name, that helped inaugurate textura by gracing the cover of its premiere issue all the way back in 2004. Yep, eight long years have passed and, aside from a few single-track Aeroc appearances here and there, the curiously titled R+B=? is the formal follow-up. So how does it sound? Not all that much different from its predecessor, truth be told, though, as one would expect, production-related aspects signal a polished advance upon the original. As before, the languorous Aeroc style is far removed from White's techno and house productions—as it should be, given the distinct persona under which the music is being presented.

The vibe is laid-back, the melodies soothing and the rhythms often downtempo, and while there's a healthy electronic dimension to the material (beats appear to be programmed, for example, though for all we know they might be sourced from treatments of his own guitar playing, as was done in a remarkable case of sleight of hand on Viscous Solid), there's also a pronounced acoustic dimension, in the guitar playing especially, that naturalizes the material. “Spaced Out” and “If I Had The Time” open the album in a suitably relaxed mode with electronic rhythms overlaid with guitar shadings, before the comparatively restless “Soflo” adds a pronouncedly glitchier style to the album. A jazzy feel infuses many of the tracks, too, with pieces such as “Playing String,” “It Does Easy,” and “All For Now” deftly wedding elegant jazz guitar patterns and rhythms drawn from funk and hip-hop. Not everything's so laid-back, however, as the hard-hitting snares rolled out during “Some Kisses” make clear. “You Say That” is as good an exemplar of the Aeroc style as any, seeing as how it combines a punchy, glitch-inflected rhythm track with dreamy swirls of acoustic picking.

While one wouldn't want to over-exaggerate the impact of geographical relocation on the nature of an artist's music production, in this case the move White made from the American Midwest to Barcelona during the creation of the album is perhaps noteworthy, given its breezy and relaxed tone—qualities the non-Barcelona resident is tempted to associate with the locale. The material swings in a manner that might call Ibiza to mind, though in this case the swing is even more laid-back than the Ibiza norm, but if there's one thing that differentiates Viscous Solid from R+B=?, it's the funkier feel of the new material. Traces of hip-hop emerge in many of the eleven snappy tunes, making something like “Soflo,” for example, sound like some new acoustically tinted twist on electronic funk. White deliberately pitches the tracks so that they seem almost off-hand but don't be deceived: the acoustic-electronic marriage that constitutes the Aeroc style is, if not unique, certainly rarefied enough that it sounds like little else currently being released.

February 2012