Elaquent The Scenic Route

Elaquent The Scenic Route
Guelph, ON native Elaquent is back keeping up with his annual album output, this time hooking up with French label Stillmuzik to unleash his leftfield beats. Known for his ability to unleash sloppy, neck-snapping instrumentals that often throw unexpected rhythmic change-ups into the mix, Elaquent (or eQ, as he's often referred to) shows his ability to incorporate more intricate arrangements into his oeuvre on The Scenic Route, smoothing out some of the videogame references and inspirations evident in his earlier work. Those blips and bleeps are still present on the rugged "Knuckle Sandwich" and on tracks like "Montreal Poutine," which boasts the vocal sample, "Turn up the volume so the block can hear!" as its rallying cry. Yet, for the most part, The Scenic Route adds a bit of layered polish to the raw talent he's already demonstrated on previous efforts like The Midnight After and Persona. For "Grey Poupon," he enlists horn arrangements from Toronto musician Octavio Santos and the synth-laden "Sweet Nothings" is magnetically hypnotic. Ironically, the album's highlight is "Black Magic," featuring a beguiling appearance by Italian singer Kae, prompting the query: why doesn't he work with vocalists more often on his solo work? While he doesn't utter a word on the proceedings, The Scenic Route suggests Elaquent's relaxed state of mind and proves his search for idyllic pastures can be infectious to the ears of listeners. (Still Muzik)