It’s a real treat to find an electronic album perfectly suited to home listening that doesn’t challenge or jar in some way. In truth, a lot of “relaxing” electronica tends to be rather too vapid and comatose, and there’s no denying the allure of music that possesses the power to shock and awe your cerebellum. Some of the finest braindance though has been in that strange hinterland betwixt the two, as in the lush momentum of Astrobotnia or Cylob.
Now Planet Mu, a label with a penchant for jarring sounds if ever there was one, present us with the mellow wonder of Polysick and his first album proper, Digital Native. Rome-based Egisto Sopor has previously issued a mixtape for 100% Silk and a CD-R album for Legowelt’s Strange Life imprint, so you get an idea of where his sounds sits. Everything is overtly analogue, with lavish arpeggios presiding over many of the tracks, powering synths so warm and fat you can almost reach out and touch them. With a few exceptions the beats remain polite and in the background, instead letting the psychedelic swathes of melodic content spiral around each other in captivatingly dynamic ways.
In fact the moments where the beats do stand up for themselves, as on “Transpelagic” or “Preda”, sound a little odd in this context. It’s not that they interrupt the flow of the album, but more that Sopor’s real gift lies in his crafting of synthesisers, and that the prominent beats intrude on a very intimate party. With many tracks coming on like vignettes, particularly in the amorphous mid-section of the album, there’s less interest in picking out particular highlights rather than letting each soporific study melt into the next. If you need an example of the quality that home listening electronica should be reaching for, turn to this album, slap some headphones on the non-believer and watch their eyes glaze blissfully over.
5. Lost Holidays
15. Smudge, Hawaii