Applescal makes lovely tracks that are beat-driven enough to move to (‘Overseas’ in particular has a delicious warm-sliding groove to it), but almost too rich a backdrop to allow the listener to ‘just’ dance. The new album For pushes further and further into his own sound, with pleasing results. Out on Atomnation.
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- For by Applescal
7/10 Laurie Staff review, 14 May 2015
The ‘chill dance’ sound is a difficult one to master. It’s a wonderfully romantic vision of a music that can be equally relevant in a club and during downtime, but the danger of spreading yourself too thin is always present, and could end up with it sounding awkward in both. The general aversion to overexposed melody or harmony in the current dance music scene also doesn’t help, which is where For will struggle.
Applescal is not a name that often makes the rounds, yet here is Pascal Terstappen with his fourth album. Just found out that his first 2 were on Traum, which is pretty impressive! This record spends over half its time in a world away from Traum, a calming, dreamy world closer to Fort Romeau or older Caribou, certainly involving as many exotic sample sources. We’ve heard chopped up voices a thousand times before, but Applescal takes the tiniest syllabic fragments and makes a refreshing percussion groove that does all that usual pitched R&B vocal crap to shame, see the uptempo ‘Overseas’ for lots of fun.
But these glimpses are brief, with the majority of the record holding a steady, reluctant tempo underpinning simple chords and tones. It gets a bit difficult to pay attention around these parts, so without many focal points, the record is placed firmly in the ‘chill’ zone, which it does well at times, but just isn’t saying anything at others. Still, it’s a nice release and will aid the winding-down effort.
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