Up-and-coming Montreal DJ, producer and multi-instrumentalist Ouri has followed up her 2015 Mazes EP with Superficial, her debut full-length. Released on Make It Rain Records (a new sub-label of Montreal-based Bonsound), the material here is more lush and atmospheric than her previous work, which featured a more streamlined, after-hours club sound.
Opening with swirling pads and string samples, first track "X-Float" takes a while to get going, teasing commitments to various staggered rhythms before settling into a steady groove, but once it does, it becomes clear that things have been tightly controlled from the start. Like much of the album, it favours ever-shifting surface textures as opposed to movement between discrete sections. It's a method that doesn't provide a lot of distinctive or memorable moments (although there are some); instead, it seeps into your memory over time, as more of a generalized vibe or atmosphere.
By contrast, shorter tracks like "Jungle" and "Distracted When You're Dancing" bear the most resemblance to her earlier work on Mazes, and seem tighter and more focused; Superficial strikes a good balance between these two styles.
Whatever mode she's working in, however, Ouri maintains tight control on Superficial. Nothing ever sounds haphazard or out of place, despite the album's sometimes elliptical song structures, and the two vocal features (one each from Odile Myrtil and Munya), are implemented tastefully, sitting comfortably deep in the mix as opposed to being spotlighted with heavy-handed crossover intent; a refreshing choice.
Overall, Superficial is a solid release, one that should strengthen Ouri's reputation as one to watch in Montreal's club scene. (Make It Rain Records)