Title: Separated Differences
Keywords: Electro, Downtempo, Experimental
Reviewer: Alex Spalding
The artist Gomae was one of the members of Thoughts Of Melt, a Vancouver-based electro/chillout group that I absolutely loved. This solo work was really nice, and I still listen to it from time to time. At the time I had recently emerged from out of a blissful sea of BoC and related sounds like some kind of audio-diluvian, so when I received this I gleefully put it out. Luckily, the Mayans were unsuccessful in their attempt to bring about the apocalypse so that I might share this with you again after all this time, sweet readers of Yeah I Know It Sucks. 😉
The 1st track is ‘Feeling Out (Recorded January 2006, A Couple Hours After It Happend The Second Time)’, one of several very long titles on the album. In the beginning, there was an experimental electro break and a really strange vocal sample, but then on the 6th day some really nice ambient textures unfolded. And things were good. The textures started then to shift perceptibly into a melodic sequence. This is something that lends itself well to just chilling, though it ends so quickly, dissolving into static.
‘Man (Hey Im Not An Object Version)’ follows with a melodic, modulated rhythmic sequence with plenty of reverb… it’s possibly analog. As it goes, lovely and subtle ambient melodies are detectable. There’s a low, whistling vocal sample. Very nice.
Next is ‘Pris’, which gets started with a moderately noisy IDM/electro break. There are a lot of mechanical rhythmic sounds that echo out, reverberate or sometimes just flatten. Then a slow, harmonic pad sets in gradually. The beat breaks down, some windlike sounds sweep in and the pads flesh out right up to the end of the track.
As we continue walking the road to Damascus, then comes ‘Throat Grip’, 41 seconds of joyous ambient pad textures and an electro break… so lovely! But, also very shortlived.
‘Fuck You (Recorded May 2005, Just Minutes After It First Happend.. Its Loud)’ is next. It starts with a droning, buzzy pad to which it adds a layer of distorted breaks. Distorted bell-similar tones come out, and almost sound a bit like a choir after a bit. The beat gets more fierce with the hat clicks. Eventually the track is reduced to the beats. It’s not as loud as I was lead to believe, but I do prefer to listen to it loudly. It’s a bit dark and aggressive. Later, a momentary bleep melody appears and then retracts, as if unsure of whether or not it wanted to be in this track… oh, wait… nevermind, that wasn’t in the track, that was just an alarm going off elsewhere in the place I’m at right now.
Then it’s ‘Fermi_5’, featuring a light break and beautiful, chillout synth sounds. The frequencies are really pleasurable. It’s something I’d put on late at night, while making coffee and thinking about life. So short, but it makes it’s statement and leaves us to figure things out for ourselves.
‘Driving Range (As Finished As It Will Ever Be)’ is only 21 seconds but makes a big audio statement before ending. There’s an uptempo house beat, mostly comprised of clicks and bass, and really pretty ambient textures. Bells and pad sweeps… so good…
‘Bangkok Girl Don’t Bat Your Eyes’ is also a short but loverly ambient piece, mostly pads and bells with a really nice filtered vocal and noise modulating that rises and falls to reverberation in the mix. There’s also a really subtle note that hits at the end, when all of the sounds have dropped off.
The last track on this is ‘SeparatedDifferences’, featuring low bass pulses, ambient pads… a synth sequence of higher frequency starts up. A house beat comes in, just a bass. Then it’s accompanied by a hat on the offbeat. Then you’ve got the snare on every other downbeat. Very typical house-style beat, but the track is really nice. A new testament to the power of the 4/4 house beat… and so many wonderful frequencies!
Revelations: this album is just too short, and it’s sad that it is so, but it’s also totally worth having because of how beautiful it is. Highly recommended! In places I’m reminded of artists like Orbital, or even Autechre, but it’s also definitely unique. So, please give it a listen at the link that’s going to appear right after all these other words.