In his own quiet way, humble Seattle-based producer Jeff McIlwain has built his reputation on a dependable level of quality over the course of his prolific 15 year career. As ever, the man has outdone himself on his latest release, an EP called Arterial. Where McIlwain nudged his sound into a pop-friendly direction with The Waiting Room, his breezy, metropolitan full-length from 2013 that landed somewhere between Fol Chen and Echaskech, there's a depth to this EP in its composed glitchiness and crisp bass that harkens back to the IDM of 2002's Iron City, only shaped by experienced hands capable of more evocative nuance.
"Eyes Give In" is a record static-laced breakbeat on which fragmented choral vocals coalesce into an androgynous garble of syllables and half-sentences, a mystical miscommunication hinting at its ethereal meaning, while the woozy, reverberant downtempo pop of "Quiet Day" invites contemplation. Showing more modern aggression, "Forks" has a bit of trap flavour, with its muted hi-hats, brisk gating and finger snaps creating a tension that the sparse, sluggish track might trip over its own beat, while the title track takes the rave-thug feel to a more glitch-hop realm. Still, both retain that characteristic Lusine cool. No matter what avenues of sound he takes inspiration from, he always sounds like himself, improved. (Ghostly)