More of a collection of sketches than a complete release, Vancouver-based experimental outfit Inexora’s Inconsistence is still a lot more cohesive than its title suggests. The primary motif that holds these tracks together is a focus on grooves, whether the rubbery IDM of “White Sakura” or the sludgy metal-inflected “Ouroboros I”, the key is all in how the drums and bass push the tracks forward, well, inexorably. There are moments where the nature of these songs (they were started in 2005 before being unearthed and completed this year) shines through, as on “Blarg” which feels like a collection of loops without direction, but by the closing notes of the lo-fi “Absolute Nowhere” you get the impression producer Mike Mayer has some greater goal in mind. Whether chugging through twisty samples or distorted guitar and bass, Inexora never feels as though it’s slowing down and that momentum carries the short release some ways.
Everything Is An Ocean
The last time we checked in with the otherworldly Yingthi, the project’s debut made an impression with a soupy and druggy mix of electronic and acoustic experimentation. The seriously weird side of Juliya Smith’s music is still in check, but there’s a more noticeably electronic emphasis on Yingthi’s first full-length, with punching and stabbing kicks and bass tones punctuating just about every track. That isn’t to say that it’s aimed at club floors; this is still resolutely experimental work with a continued emphasis on pitching vocals for the sake of exacerbating the alien qualities of the music and layering clatter within spacey beats. Smith’s still finding her sea legs as a producer, but the work done between the previous release and Everything Is An Ocean, both in terms of harmony and composition (both working nicely on “First Steps”) is palpable and goes a ways to consolidating Yingthi’s sizable scope and reach. Once again, worth tracking, especially if your tastes run to the outre.
When we reviewed the last auto-auto EP The Skies Your Hunting Ground we compared the group’s shift in direction to acts like Junior Boys, their focus shifted to sweet melody and subtle production over the straight electro-pop they had previously been plying. Their excellent new EP Underwater Sounds goes even further, entering realms that suggest the tropical sonics of MGMT and Empire of the Sun, albeit with the same melancholia that has always lurked between the hooks of their songs. The slow build and distant vocalizations of “White Room” mask a gradually building electronic rhythm that when laid bare at the song’s climax feels as propulsive as any Outrun or nu-italo song. Similarly the exceptional “Little Worth Fighting For” might fin in easily with any number of chic contempo electronic sounds, but it’s the confident lilt in Erik Frankel’s voice and the pulsing disco beat behind the highly processed string sounds that connects the track to their previous work. Despite the “Now I’m calculated and cold/Jaded and cold” sentiment expressed on closer “Get Rich or Try Dyin'” this feels like a natural extension of what auto-auto is rather than a grab at some imaginary brass crossover ring. Excellent stuff from a project that is constantly redefining what they are without ever losing sight of what they were.