Elite Barbarian It's Only When You Get to the End That it All Makes Sense

As a member of Rothko, Benjamin Page has refined musical understatement in the service of uncluttered emotion. Going solo as Elite Barbarian, he imports some of his band’s minimalist tendencies but shows off a more off-the-cuff approach to his statements. There is quite a bit of nose-following, locked beats and phased loops, providing a safety net for Page to experiment with textures and stereo effects. The result is a hybrid that resembles early ambient works by Aphex Twin crossed with a micro house that has burnt down to echoes of its halcyon beats. That hint of ruin pervades the album (and its title), as on the opener "Going Down,” which transposes a rough dub recoding style to a Tesla coil snap-beat and time-shifting budget keyboards. Other tracks either are stuck in the amber of their tones or play on some half-remembered progression of how rhythms used to work. It’s a post-collapse dance party for the surviving few. (Front and Follow)