Eaves Hue [EP]

[Hush Hush; 2015]

Styles: trap, juke, new age
Others: Shlohmo, Rustie, Arca

Eaves’s “official” debut Hue isn’t set in a flux between “functional” electronica and experimental workouts like some tend to point out. Instead, there’s an evident push and pull, but it’s not as if these are clearly defined opposites — it’s 2015 — and the most enthralling moments of this EP occur when Eaves is able to pull the two together seamlessly.

“Shut” posits shaking, deep string melodies alongside gritty, pitch-shifted vocal samples and mechanized percussion over thudding bass hits. It’s texturally enticing and rhythmically dexterous. In fact, the textures may be the most intriguing aspect of this EP, engineered in a way that won’t surprise those listeners who flock to Arca or Shlohmo but still warrant a generous unpicking of not what comprises them, but how and why they are composed in that manner. Eaves’s sound is an accomplished amalgamation of distinctly modern aesthetics — the old repurposed to fit with the re-worked new. The New Age-leanings of the title track’s opening are lush and thick, drones floating amidst hand percussion and (presumably) sampled wilderness sounds.

But when they don’t fit in a way befitting of Eaves’s carefully manufactured soundscapes or anthemic-trap leanings, the effect isn’t as potent. The sections — themes, buildups, drops — follow easily identifiable patterns, and a sizeable disconnect between the motifs and fragments tends to render the progressions slightly arbitrary. It’s frustrating to witness, because it’s so apparent that Eaves has more than capable skill at crafting a fascinating passage of sound. The opening loops and synth runs of “Projector” hint at a compelling high-res rave-seizure similar to Amnesia Scanner or TCF, but when the “drop” (of sorts) hits, the effect of clashing metal and screeching synths is somewhat dulled by the arrangement.

However, as Eaves moves the track along, tunneling melodic lines that worm their way to the surface reveal a more carefully considered form. To this end, I wouldn’t put forward that Eaves does anything “wrong” (of course), but aside from now-familiar impressions of roughness and beauty intertwining, moments that leave a powerful lasting impression are few and far between. But those impressions of beauty do remain, and for those seeking something that bounds with an intriguing energy that’s equal parts excited and somber, Hue is a worthwhile listen.

Links: Eaves - Hush Hush

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