The transition from 12”s and EPs to long players can certainly expose an artist to their weaknesses in production and repetitive nature of live techniques, in what should be seen as a full representation of their creativity rather than just a collection of dj-orienated tracks. I am not suggesting that every producer out there who releases 12”s are destined to be used and abused by their peers, but within today’s future beats collective it is plain to hear those who rely too heavily on the same manufactured loops and tired synths, or even drenching their set with as much organic based sounds as possible, and those who spend more time to gather, analyse and reflect on source material before using it within their work.
Thankfully there are artists such as Flying Lotus, Starkey et al who can maintain an album’s worth of material and with this self-titled album, Ninja Tune’s latest audio gymnast Eskmo can help himself to a piece of that action.
Maybe it is because San Francisco based Brendan Angelides, aka Eskmo, isn’t or hasn’t really been a DJ. He is a musician, and started playing the bass at an early age, then drums, then keys, whilst simultaneously working his way through the back catalogue of 1990s electronica. Eskmo spans current genres within beatmaking and at time sounds similar to Brainfeeder glitch-hop, and at others new-age synth-funk. It is a loose hybrid downtempo style that is although deep into the LA low-end scene has hints of UK based artist Joker and fellow experimenter Nosaj Thing.
Throughout the building block beats and deep soothing bass notes is a much laid back vibe that oozes through the album. ‘Cloudlight’ floats up and down with its wafting and bubble pop samples, which sound like a constant stream of Facebook chat messages. ‘Become Matter Soon, For You’ sounds similar to 2009’s ‘Hypercolour’, again a loose feel with subtle spacey synths. Although next to each other in the play list, ‘Siblings’ and ‘Gold & Stone’ feel quite different, one a mixture of strangulated piano samples working its way through your ears, and the other being an almost Bonobo sounding powerhouse. Any vocals on this album reflect track titles and are spliced between wafting basslines and a mixed case of field music and sampled beats. The samples for much of the album are intended to be interwoven with the lush melodies and transfixing synths. On ‘We Have Invisible Friends’ and ‘My Gears Are Starting To Tremble’, this approach is ethereal and very poetic in nature, and very representative of the whole listening experience.