Eskmo: Terra

Terra is the latest Eskmo EP from LA-based electronic music producer Brendan Angelides, who only a few months ago issued the Language EP (also on his Ancestor imprint). The new release is intended to be heard as the flip side of the coin to the earlier one, with Language's skewed dance-floor focus countered by Terra's slower, darker, and more contemplative style. It's anything but microsound, however: in keeping with its title, “Buffalo” stomps with determination and unwavering purpose, its slamming kick drums and thrusting rhythms overlaid by a chunky bass pattern, razor-sharp synthesizer stabs, and an epic radiance that suggests a beast ten times the buffalo's size.

The synthesizer is so dominant an element, Terra's material begins to assume a prog-like character, and does to an even greater degree when Angelides adds vocals to the mix as he does during “Shadow.” Percussion is likewise a key aspect of the twenty-four-minute release, with Angelides peppering the tracks with a barrage of aggressive beats and percussive clatter. The chant-like vocal melodies in “We Are All Terrestrial,” on the other hand, nudge the Eskmo sound into a poppier realm, without any significant compromise to the epic instrumental attack that characterizes the release in general. Consequently, one comes away from Terra thinking it might best be described as some forward-thinking IDM-pop hybrid; one is also retrospectively reminded of how natural it was for Amon Tobin to team up with Angelides for the 2010 collaborative project Eskamon and related Fine Objects single.

January 2013