Album Review: Groundislava / ‘Feel Me’ (Friends of Friends)


Say Doug Quaid had a change of heart about wanting to see the Red Planet, and instead fancied a trip to the sandy beaches on say, the rings of Saturn. The in-flight entertainment and music welcoming him to the hotel lobby would’ve been down to Groundislava. Like he’s working a sonic etch-a-sketch where there are absolutely no curves to be found, Jasper Patterson measures the finest of margins that separates the beats scene from chillwave and Feel Me from fantasy doodle to emotional entrenchment.

On the one hand this is of a cheesily incidental tingle exhaling sweet nothings under the stars and through the 80s (an era that Patterson’s family tree knows only too well). On the other its powerful electro plateaux are scarily addictive, keyboards undercut with bass to blow the ambience wide open such as on “Cool Party” or the unexpected thrills of “Living Under a Rock”, likened to Groundislava remixing that Colbys finale where Fallon gets abducted by aliens. Or, option #3, it’s the most restful space-age resort of the mind imaginable (“Jasper’s Song II”), kind of dilapidated in dry ice but with a charming fire in its eyes like a cabaret music box still making it through revolutions. Whereas most in the field lower the temperature until icicles start forming around ears, GiL is forever warm, a bit sulky in places but always aglow, whether human or supernatural.
File under: Com Truise, M Fusion, Shlohmo

Album Review: Tomas Barfod / ‘Salton Sea’ (Friends of Friends)


The Danish producer with credits for Get Physical and Kompakt builds deep electro house that always has something to offer and will surprise you as it goes. In nautical terms, Barfod catches an unexpected wave after a period of lapping at your feet, but is just as likely to subside back to calm in the twinkle of an eye and still keep the album’s thread going. There’s no musical journey maxim being cornered either, it’s the in and out of the tide that makes progress and with much in common.

Languid elfin pop “Broken Glass” finds solace far away from the dance floor with its kooky chord arrangements and differing made-to-fit sections, backed by “Till We Die” playing clam-shell percussion. Cosmic discoers “Came to Party” and “Python” reroute again, one airy and embracing, the other stern and guarded, both still keeping a solid fit. Then the mixture of pop leaning towards the left and direct to the dance floor comes with an intersection: both “Don’t Understand” and “November Skies” have a cunningly grand scheme about them from modest openings.

Sometimes it’s not the change in style, just a technique or effect that catches your ear, so for example, with “Aether,” it’s like lobbing a stone into still waters and seeing how the ripples pattern out. A fine sea shanty.
File under: Tahloula, WhoMadeWho, Filur