Published Aug 22, 2014If there's one word to describe the debut full-length from Photay, "intricate" sums it up quite nicely. Hailing from New York state, the 21-year-old uses the release to showcase an impressive catalogue of experimentation in field recordings and samplings, not to mention killer polyrhythmic percussion gleaned from time spent in Guinea. For someone so young, Photay (Evan Shornstein) has a remarkable ear for detail and a handle on layering sounds and samples of varying magnitudes, lending richness and texture to his tracks.
On "Dusk," smoky horns briefly flit across a dense opening filled with snaps, static, birdcalls and ethereal voices, yet the track never seems overwhelmed or cluttered. Meanwhile, on "No Sass," easily the most engaging track on the release, floppy brass gears up and down before hitting a sustained stutter. Rain sticks, claps and snaps pile on, sparse reverberating bass adds a touch of murk and indecipherable vocals sporadically follow the melody. Though the tracks do take on a slight sameness as the end of the album approaches, their nuanced colours are well worth exploration. (Astro Nautico)