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- Wander/Wonder by Balam Acab
This guy Alec Koone is only 20 years old and, with an acclaimed EP under his belt already, and here's his totally slick and ambitious debut album. What this guy does, right, is that he plays this like electronic dance music, right, but it's slow and full of syrup-thick grooooves. I'm pretty into this so far to be honest. I really like the unhurried approach that's being taken here. If our reviews were done in a similar unhurried way I might be able to comment on it being a complete piece of work with recurring themes like it says in the press release. What I can tell you is that this guy makes a really sumptuous and accessible sound that seems largely informed by drone and dubstep and chilled house jams. He always gives his tunes room to breathe, and when there's vocals they're all quite processed and pitched up and it sounds like a girl but maybe it's him...hard to tell 'cause it basically sounds like a computer and it's more a textural embellishment than a primary feature of the music. There seem to be quite frequent dripping and splashing water samples integrated into the music too - often, it seems, in lieu of drums. There's lots of dubby echo and simple melodies and this guy is bound to get pretty frequent comparisons to Burial but I think what he's doing is pretty different to be honest. It falls somewhere between Burial and that last Portishead album I suppose. To me this record seems aimed for late night home listening, not the dancefloor, but they do have that same melodic instinct and restraint that makes for timeless music. Things do get a bit samey by the end, but the atmospheres and tones are sublime throughout and the tunes are memorable and haunting, so that's hardly a problem really. Spellbinding stuff, and potential future classic material.
9/10 Mik Customer review, 16th March 2015
Wander/Wonder is pastoral, more likely to bring to mind sunlight slanting through a window that overlooks a rural garden. And you can't have a garden without water. As anyone who has ever knocked over a cup next to a computer knows, water is the digital sphere's mortal enemy, the thing that can bring our precious electrical circuits down in an instant.
In line with recent productions by Clams Casino and AraabMuzik, Wander/Wonder has has an obsession with the sound of the life force: laced throughout are samples of lapping currents, slow drips, and light splashes. These accents reinforce both the bucolic feel and, with the complexity of the natural world that computers still envy, liberates the music from the computer grid. They also make Wander/Wonder an immersive experience, like something you lower yourself into, inch by inch. And in the end, that seems to be the overriding idea: This is functional music that highlights the simple pleasure of artfully arranged sound, the kind of gorgeous and evocative record that fills up the room and shifts your perception for 37 minutes and then brings you gently back to the surface.
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