Melorman: Out in a Field
Symbolic Interaction

Athens, Greece-based Antonis Haniotakis creates pastoral electronica of an especially picturesque kind under the name Melorman. The ten tracks on his Out in a Field wrap hip-hop-inflected beats in blankets of feathery synths and serenading melodies in a way that can't help but invite comparisons to Boards of Canada. Whatever its derivative character, Melorman's material is nevertheless seductive, especially when guest Helen Day adds wordless gossamer vocals to many of the tracks, albeit more in the way of atmospheric enhancement than conventional lyrics-based singing.

“Apricot Fields” opens the forty-two-minute collection with a luscious and tranquil overture, after which “5 O'clock Spring Time” serves up the first of many doses of sparkling head-nod. “Hold Us” weds a snappy funk pulse to transporting analog melodies, while “Sunlight Noise” offers church-like melancholy of the stately and beatific kind. “Tell Me More Stories” comes closest of all to straight-up instrumental hip-hop of an Inner Current vintage. Best of all is “Silent Breath,” perhaps the album's most seductive piece, where Day's vocals float over downtempo head-nodding rhythms for a thoroughly enchanting four minutes.

Out in a Field might be imagined as somewhat like a set of tracks by a more carefree version of Boards of Canada, a set that arrives free of the complicating baggage of critical expectations and the pressure involved in adding to a discography that already includes Music Has the Right to Children and Geogaddi. Melorman's music sounds all the more relaxed and breezy for not having to wrestle with an intimidating legacy.

January 2010