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Movement - Movement EP

"Movement EP"

Release date: 28 April 2014
6/10
Movement Movement EP
22 April 2014, 16:41 Written by Chad Jewett
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Movement obviously have motion in mind on their new, self-titled EP, even if it’s at a glacial pace. Consisting of four songs of syrupy, cotton-packed R&B, Movement trades in the same bleary, blog-soul that we’ve come to associate with James Blake, or Blood Orange, or Disclosure. The EP is uniformly minor-key, washed-out, prizing atmosphere over hooks, evocations over melodies. As such, whether or not you respond to Movement will depend almost entirely on your predilection towards the impressionistic, the subtle, the minimalist. If you’re willing to find the economically-placed gestures that make the EP compelling, you’ll be rewarded for your patience. If not, you’ll find yourself a bit worn down by more soft-focus R&B (a verified trend at this point) that doesn’t seem willing to provide choruses, melodies, hooks, or the expressionism that defined soul up until its recent, ambient iterations.

“Like Lust,” the EP’s opening track, is the tipping point for all of this. Essentially a near-five minute cycle of fizzing keyboards and hazy, half-heard falsettos (“Got you comin’ over / When this feels like lust” constitutes the entirety of the song’s narrative), the song asks (rather than commands) your attention, gaining purchase in the way synthesizers will rise and fall, blossom and dry like smears of watercolor paint, the way the song’s noir-ish trip-hop aura slowly expands. There are interesting bends of far off guitar, ghostly echoes of disembodied harmony, a warmly-recorded electric piano – the song, and the EP as a whole, sound gorgeous – but you’ll have to be satisfied with that. If the shaping of sound interests you, Movement excel at it.

“5.57” feels more like a song, less like a cloudy emanation. Reminiscent of some of the more insistent moments from James Blake’s most recent album, Overgrown (indeed, Movement’s aesthetic of 80’s soul falsetto and corroded computer soundscapes makes that comparison unavoidable – one would image the band hearing it constantly), the song moves along a grinding, ticking-cog of a beat and a sinister, rusted-out synth bass. In its early going, “5.57” has the same spread-molasses quality as “Like Lust,” but the song eventually picks itself up, accelerating with a skittering drum machine pulse that adds needed momentum, beautifully offsetting the song’s gauzy melodies rather than making them feel more stretched out than they are. A pinging organ laces certain moments; elsewhere everything drops out but that muttering bass, grown even more deranged. “5.57” is still more collage than song, but it’s a crazy-quilt that draws our eye.

“Ivory,” the EP’s shortest track, is also its most extroverted, marrying brighter sounds (a clanging piano is especially salient) and a disco shimmy to Movement’s signature blurs. The song is still a bit low on beats-per-minute to be something you could dance to, unless you’re an extra in a film with a sinister dance-club scene, set in slow motion, but there is a head-nodding instinct at work in “Ivory.” A guitar eventually bursts in in full high-Prince dramatics, a wonderfully left-field choice for a short record that is otherwise very content to be as smooth and unadorned as silk sheets – indeed, it’s not coincidence that the EP’s front image appears to be a waved mound of black fabric; this is a record of texture, even if that texture is largely without friction.

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