As We Travel

SnowdayAs We Travel
High school friends and electronic musicians Cam Sloan and Chad Skinner were travelling together through Europe when they picked up a ukulele in Madrid, and that's all that was needed to prompt the pair to return to more traditional instrumentation. The result of this experimentation infused their self-released debut album, the appropriately titled As We Travel, with a sense of the organic. Their nostalgia-tinged band name is a good reflection of the type of music they produce, which blends the instrumentation of Bonobo with Tycho's brand of ambient electronic music (they've both been name-checked by the duo as strong influences).

"Walk Along These Rocks With Me," with its cutesy title and spoken work intro that states "I will not worry about anything ever again," hints to the playful abandon of childhood — as does their band name — and rides the wave of dreamy electro favoured by such artists as Ryan Hemsworth and Porter Robinson's more twee material. Elsewhere on As We Travel, the duo explore worldly sounds they encountered on their travels, such as on the flamenco-tinged "Eventual," which showcases the more percussive side to the Toronto electronic duo. The two vocal-assisted tracks on the album are unfortunately not created equal; the Kaleigh Watts-featuring "A Quiet Winter" blends in well with the rest of the material, but Sammy Jackson's turn on "Regeneration" clashes with the tribal musicality of the track. While Jackson has undeniable pipes, her vocals would probably fare better on the type of tracks one find in the UK bass scene.

Everything on Snowday's debut, from its name and artwork all the way down to the self-recorded samples, is carefully crafted and deliberate. From the first strings on synth-heavy opener "The Seventh String" to the plucky guitar arrangement of closer "All in Due Time," these boys know what they're doing. As We Travel is an impressive release, showing an assuredness rarely found on a debut. Snowday have managed to craft a new brand of pastoral ambient electronic music — now who's ready to sign them? (Independent)
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