Published Feb 17, 2017Despite their apparent differences, any track from Aphni's new EP, Tabrecn, would make a very good score piece to a dark, dystopian sci-fi film or TV show. There's a pervasive, moody paranoia woven through most of the tracks, from the sound design to the rhythms and melodies created with those sounds.
Opener "electeam" starts with an off-kilter bass drum pattern that basically obscures the downbeat. Higher range percussion (hats, snares, claps, etc.) flicker in and out of consciousness. One vocal snippet comes through periodically, adding a touch of humanity and characterizing the rest of the surrounding chaos as oppressive or nearly impenetrable in juxtaposition. Ethereal synth pads fill in the background with a silvery fog.
Track two, "tabrecn," continues the lush fogginess of those synth pads while everything else fades away, but there is now a deeper, womb-like drone as well. Around the fourth minute, a more crystalline buzzing starts to wriggle its way through the haze, giving the structure just a bit more of an arc. Bell-like organ chords bring us home.
The third track, "1619 viskee," is another beat-driven track with whale-song-ish pads again, though this bass drum pattern, while still unconventional, locks in with the hi-hat for greater groove. About three minutes in, there's a neat drop-away of a lot of the higher frequencies, and then the beat drops out altogether for an elegiac coda. Closer "coca ally" flutters and contorts with disfigured synth sounds along the lines of Arca, again with a bed of those smooth and hazy pads.
It's fine that Aphni aims for a coherent mood here, trying to cultivate a certain aesthetic, but on future releases, it'd be nice to hear some of these sounds without the drone-y, downy pillow. (Beer on the Rug)