Published May 18, 2016Upon its release in 2011, Sepalcure's self-titled full-length made waves for its inventive blend of multiple electronic music subgenres in seamless fashion, as well as its ability to thrive as a set of songs outside of a dance-oriented environment. Five years later, their long-awaited sophomore LP, Folding Time, finds itself in a similar sphere, drawing from dub, juke, drum'n'bass and so much more to create something distinct.
Built from freshly composed tracks and some retooled older ones, the record is also very indicative of how far Travis Stewart and Praveen Sharma have come since their last album as a duo, working solo as Machinedrum and Braille, respectively. Stewart took countless different directions across the multiple parts of the Vapor City series, while Sharma explored darker textures with Everyone's Crazy and Mute Swan last year.
By extension, there are some new things here, too. The two make a successful play at R&B with opener "Fight for Us," for which they enlist Rochelle Jordan as a live vocalist. Live vocals also appear on "Devil Inside" courtesy of Angelica Bess, and while from a lyrical standpoint, neither accomplishes what any number of Sharma and Stewart's warped vocal samples couldn't, the variation and increased human feel is welcome.
Some of the more exciting listening comes when the two return to faster tempos. The rolling drums, bass and congas of "No Honey" make for engaging support to some soft jazz chords, while "Loosen Up" rises up with crescendoing keys before falling into a dark drum'n'bass hole.
Still, there are nice meditative moments within the tracklist. One could imagine some quicker drums being paired with "Been So True," but it sidesteps the obvious in favour of something groovier, while "Brother Forest" sways nicely in the breeze with its world music influence and vocal sample to match.
Folding Time is also a record of subtleties, a treat for any production perfectionist with a wealth of tiny details to pick apart: the way the drums and vocals of "Devil Inside" slowly recede for Stewart's gentle guitar to take centre stage; the vocal chops of "No Honey" filling space with their emotive reverberations; the multiple layers of "Hurts So Bad" fading in and out without ever feeling claustrophobic. These are only a few things that make the record much more than it appears to be at first listen, a detailed effort worth unfolding that reveals more each time. (Hotflush)