Published Mar 06, 2018In the last three years, Australia's What So Not (aka producer Emoh Instead, aka Chris Emerson) went from being a duo with fellow producer Flume to a solo act, and has used the departure to focus his energy into creating What So Not's debut LP.
Not All the Beautiful Things, according to Emerson, is (fittingly) about transformation, and as one of the most touted innovative and collaborative DJs in recent years, the album's guests are inventive, to say the least — SLUMBERJACK, Hans Solo, Dyro, Daniel Johns (yes, the Daniel Johns of mid-'90s alt-rock fame) and Toto (yes "Africa" Toto).
The album, predictably, is predictable. It opens with promise, launching a gritty instrumental track with SLUMBERJACK ("Warlord") that's filled with searing, off-kilter synths, and hefty clips of percussion, and follows up with one of several tracks featuring Daniel Johns ("Be Ok Again"), which plays out quite nicely with Johns' breathy opening, ascending/descending tinny synths that gain weight as the track picks up, and delayed beat progressions.
Beyond this however, Not All the Beautiful Things falls in line with every other EDM release in recent memory, capitalizing on uninspired progressions and slopped in a grime we've heard the world over. As for Toto's appearance on the young producer's album, "We Keep on Running" plays out like a bad Top 40 anthem any number of at-the-moment pop stars might throw out. (Ninja Tune)