Genre: Ambient Electronica/ Quasi-Trance
The label “ambient electronica” is a strange one – one that can really mean a lot of things. I guess, to me, it means the sort of music that is made with electronic components, but doesn’t necessarily make you want to dance. And though this EP didn’t have me on my feet, it definitely had my head bobbing along subconsciously. Chimarra’s first EP, Edge Effects, is a 23-minute collection, made up of glitchy drum beats, samples panned to either side of the head, a slew of different synth sounds, and the mellow tone of a euphonium. At first listen, the album is a lot what you’d expect from an ambient electronic artist – the drum beats, especially, remind me of the fizzy rhythms that made up much of Sufjan Steven’s Age of Adz. There are two major things, though, that give this music a different feeling than most other music in this genre: the feeling of a narrative and followable line of song development, and the euphonium. Taking a look at Chimarra’s Facebook page, he lists “the power and beauty of the natural world” as the inspiration for his music – when taking this into account, it makes it a little easier to understand the feeling of calm narration that much of the music has. The choice to include the sounds of a brass instrument – thrown in selectively on euphonium, rather than a sampled sound on a keyboard – is definitely interesting, and it gives the music some really nice dissonance and color. The album definitely rides the line into trance music – it’s pretty meditative and it conveys its ties to the tranquility of nature very well.
Tracks I Liked: Cave Patterns!!!, North of the Light!, Timestream!!
– Ben Southworth – Lexington, Kentucky – May 21, 2013
Genre: Lo-Fi Rock with a Modest Mouse-y Tinge (I think…)
Some of the earliest concerts I ever attended were at a church in Georgetown with no shortage in space – the youth area was used for a few years (maybe, hopefully, it still is) as a space to host a concert series called “Harmony Presents.” And one of the earlier iterations of this band – The Likeable Inbetween – was no stranger to the venue and its concert series. Carrying over the two core members of the band, Matt Eddy and Ryan Parker, the two joined with Christian Barnett and adopted the title “Southern Ivy League” – presumably in reference to Parker’s enrollment at Vanderbilt University. I’ve heard the latter two songs on the EP before – but in limited instrumentation. These familiar songs are fleshed out in a really nice way, drums, pianos, and some really interesting mastering, not to mention the use of electric guitars in lieu of acoustics and ukeleles. This gives the music a much greater presence and some sort of warmth that comes in with a sound that sounds like Modest Mouse’s earlier work – if Isaac Brock wasn’t afraid to write to write with a little more pop. In fact the guitar sounds on the opening track, “Everything in Moderation,” reminds me a lot of some of the work done on This is a Long Drive for Someone With Nothing to Think About, though it’s immediately apparent that Eddy’s voice isn’t really much like Brock’s. It’s a really solid EP, and though the band has grown up since their days of singing songs like “Billy the Transvestite,” especially musically, they’ve retained the youthfulness and energy that made them such a hit in the small town they grew up in.
Tracks I Liked: Everything in Moderation!, Over the Pipe!!, Pseudo-Science!!!, I am in Love with You (But it’s Not Important)!!!
– Ben Southworth