Totem Test: Totem Test EP
Done Damage

Though some might be more familiar with the ambient soundscaping work James Elliott has issued under the Ateleia name, his new Totem Test project finds the Brooklyn-based producer with his ear to the ground and giving birth to bass-heavy, future-dubstep cuts sure to appeal to fans of forward-thinking acts like Burial, Actress, and Mount Kimbie. Elliott has also performed and recorded with Bear In Heaven and School of Seven Bells and performed with Mountains, David Daniell, among others, and such experiences no doubt inform in myriad ways the five tracks on Totem Test EP. The material's mutated and fuzzed-out amalgam of dubstep, house, and techno rhythms amounts to a distinctive brand of body music for sure, but there's an equal focus on the music's listening side too. The smeary dub-techno of “Are You Young?” and low-end, tripped-out swagger of “Cosmic Sore” (replete with electronic drum fills and buckshot claps) hold up equally well on the dancefloor as in one's headphones. Supplement that with the bulldozing dubstep thunder of “The Drain” and the Burial-like bass crunch of “Fade To Fade” you've got a twenty-five-minute set that's hard to beat. The EP's a great coming-out for Elliott's new project, and one presumes that the imminent follow-up remix EP featuring makeovers by Peter's House Music, Warm Ghost, and others will be just as satisfying.

February 2011