EP review: Octo Octa – For Lovers

Brooklyn DJ and producer Maya (formerly Michael) Bouldry-Mason, better known as Octo Octa, has poured her years of experience into three highly competent house tracks that are a treat for both your mind and your feet.

For Lovers is a three- track, 22 minute EP that explores some more ethereal elements, as well as offering you some proper four-to-the-floor groove outs.

I Need You begins with some vocal harmonics and ambient synths that builds up over the course of a few minutes, until the break beats drop. The synth work throughout has me harking back to early Orb efforts and overall the track is more for digesting than dancing – but still highly enjoyable. It’s eight minute length passes in the blink of an eye.

Bodies Meld Together offers your more standard 4×4 house beat structure complete with hand claps, soul vocal samples and classic house-style percussion. This isn’t a blast from the past though as it still maintains some modern vitality to it. This one’s clearly more suited for the club – don’t expect it to develop massively as the song moves along.

Loops For Healing is another strong house number featuring piano scales and some sparse but clinical use of keyboard and organs. This is no ecstatic, hands in the air number, but will get your feet moving. I suspect this would play perfectly mid-morning at an Ibiza beach bar. I can almost see myself there now.

Release date: 01 March 2019

Rating: 7/10

Standout track: I Need You

For fans of:

  • Todd Terry
  • Paul Oakenfold
  • Derrick Carter

Listen on Spotify

EP review: Snow Palms – Everything Ascending

Snow Palms - Everything Ascending cover

More of a single than an EP, but with its two tracks spanning over 16 mins it’s still worth shouting out this effort from Snow Palms.

Title track Everything Ascending is a 10-minute epic that blends dance and electronica with orchestral and choral elements through a series of intertwined ‘movements’ that blend together seamlessly. You’re carried along on a musical journey, with even the tempo sometimes reflecting the regular rattle of a high-speed train.

It’s the kind of piece that deserves repeat listening just to take it all in, you’ll have a different experience with it every time.

The b-side is an orchestral reworking of Circling, a track from an older album. Its minimalist use of strings is highly emotive and highly impressive, reminiscent of Philip Glass’s Koyaanisqatsi at times. Expect to hear it on a trailer for something soon.

Release date: 22 February 2019

Rating: 8/10

Standout track: Everything Ascending

For fans of:

  • Brian Eno
  • Jon Hopkins
  • Philip Glass

Listen on Spotify

Album of the week: Julia Kent – Temporal

Julia Kent - temporal album cover

Canadian cellist Julia Kent has, with Temporal, produced an achingly beautiful album, that while sitting firmly within the neo-classical genre, shows a wide range of influences.

Twelve-minute opener Last Hour Story, sets the bar high for the rest of the album, which fortunately it manages to match. The looping and building of strings on strings pulls at your own heartstrings and by the end of it you may be an emotional wreck.

Through all her tracks, Kent leans on elements of electronica to centre the album in the here-and-now. Without it many of these tracks would be well-suited to the dramatic parts of some of our darker period dramas.

The electronic influence is more obvious on tracks like Imbalance, which features a pulsating deep-bass synth and electro ticks and pops to counterbalance the cello and organ driving the piece.

Similarly Conditional Futures places us in a dystopian landscape, where looped strings and low-key synth tones provide the backdrop as Kent’s cello drifts in and out of the scene, before the tone lightens towards the end to provide that glimmer of hope amongst the gloom.

There are more uplifting moments to be found on Floating City, with its plucked strings and house-style pianos, and again on Through the Window which has an almost Balearic feel to it.

Crepuscolo brings events to a close, with Kent’s cello sitting alongside echoing piano notes, ambient swirls and the sound of chirping crickets as the whole album drifts off into entropy.

Temporal is a cerebral listen rather than one to get your feet going, or even to use as backing music at a dinner party. But if you are the kind of person who is moved by music – brace yourself – because this will be an emotional journey.

Release dates: 25 January 2019

Rating: 8/10

Standout track: Last Hour Story

For fans of:

  • Nils Frahm
  • Max Richter
  • Global Communication

Listen on Spotify