Thursday, July 28, 2011
The Air EP - The Acidophiles
Hot on the heels of their Earth EP, The Acidophiles bring us the next chapter in the elements series, The Air EP. I am no stranger to the musical inspiration of the elements: Fire, Wind (or Air), Water, and Earth and I would be hard pressed to call this a novel concept, but nonetheless it is a rich mythology that can bear much artistic fruit. The Acidophiles hold nothing back in the newest release. Where sometimes a concept may hinder an artist by caging them in, the Acidophiles instead simply use the elements as a canvas on which to paint their newest compositional ideas.
The Ft. Collins duo always stay consistent to the core elements of their sound, but on each release that I listen to, I always feel them pushing the envelope. Its a sure thing that you will hear melodic, arpeggiated soundscapes and atmospheric, club-ready beats. The overall compositions are never shy in slowly drawing you in and then blasting your face in classic dance hall style. One of my favorite compositional elements of the Acidophiles style is the overwhelming length and breadth of their tracks. Seven minutes seems to be the minimum.
"Particle" sets the tone for the Air EP, keeping things very similar to the overall sound that you would expect from the midi based composer duo, laying out a slowly building atmosphere of blips and beats that stretches out for a good eight minutes. The peaks and valleys of the building textures feels like a creature breathing in and out. Although "Particle" does a great job of laying the foundation for the EP, the following track, "Slipping Through Clouds" is what really hit me with something I didn't expect.
The second track on the Air EP is the longest and the beefy-est. The sampled beat at the beginning is like nothing I have heard from the Acidophiles. It lays in like a hip-hop track and then the synth melodies really begin to create the feel of future funk that I have yet to see from this group until now. While "Slipping Through Clouds" maintains the breathing in and out feel of "Particle," it is really much more of a banger so long as you can ride the wave of this ten minute track. After an etherial breakdown, conga samples begin to build the track back up. The addition of these samples fills out the Acidophiles sound in a way I never expected. While their beats are never lost on me, the effect of the trance is the most powerful. The combination of these two "genres," if you will, is where the Acidophiles have found their niche.
"This Too Shall Pass" may be the most explicit interpretation of the Air theme as we begin to hear abstracted samples of breaths and other sound effects laid over the maudlin piano intro. This track introduces more of the glitch-hop genre than I have become familiar with hearing from the Acidophiles. Whirrs, clicks, and claps build a chugging rhythm that carries the song along. Although, I am always impressed by their drive to innovate in their music, this track was a low point in the EP for me. "This Too Shall Pass" is curiously named as I find myself awaiting the next track up until the last minutes of the composition.
The final track, "Thermals," picks up the pace again with a sweeping synth melody that rides over a rhythmic, bass blip and amps up as a bending note rides into the heart of the composition. "Thermals" pulls us back to the foundation of what the Acidophiles does best and is akin in sound to "Particle." I find myself once again entranced as the modal composition carries the rhythmic synth melody in with a funky plunk and a swirvy note bend at the end of each pass. When the track breaks down to a hi-hat heavy groove, we hear a smooth improvised solo, or at least it sounds like an improvised solo, and whether or not it is improvised or carefully composed, it is a treat. As "Thermals" reaches its final few minutes, the Acidophiles pull out the bass music big guns that Colorado is known so well for. Thankfully, while still keeping it rather wompy, the outro to this track is not quite dubstep. The modulating frequency of the bass whirrs, chops, and shoots to the upper limits of the sound spectrum but always manages to keep it classy. Giving us only two minutes of this oft overused soundscape makes its more desirable and ends before you are left with a bad taste in your mouth (ears?)
As this elements series has progressed, I have been overly intrigued by each chapter. And I can't wait to hear more.
Check it out for yourself below.