ESKMO: Eskmo (Ninja Tune)


Posted on Oct 13th 2010 01:27 am

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Eskmo: Eskmo

Ninja Tune 2010
13 Tracks. 49mins22secs

Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP | DLD iTunes: DLD

Born Brendan Angelides somewhere in Connecticut some years ago, Eskmo first appeared with the album Machines On Task, released on his own Eskmo Recordings as a graduation project, over ten years ago, and has since gone on to publish breakbeat records on Downbeat Productions, Vertical Sound and Cyberfunk. Angelides relocated to San Francisco in 2006, and widened his musical scope greatly to incorporate elements of hip hop, ambient, funky groove, dubstep and electronica, with releases on Ancestor, Planet Mu Or Warp. Now signed to Ninja Tune, Eskmo drops his latest album right on queue for the label’s much celebrated twentieth anniversary.

Right from the opening loops of the rather magnificent recent lead single Cloudlight, the tone is set. Thick and heavy grooves, claustrophobic electronics, sparkling melodies, everything here is geared up toward creating dramatic miniature soundtracks upon which he regularly ads further vocal layers. The formulae never veers away much from this template, but this provides Angelides with ample room to manoeuvre and satisfy his exploratory ambitions.

The aforementioned Cloudlight is a brilliant piece of haunting electronic avant pop served by moody electronics and comatose beats, and this is echoed on You Got, I See That, We Have Invisible Friends or the utterly excellent Gold & Stone, further down. Elsewhere, Eskmo opts for a more angular approach, at times injecting vague flavours of his more dance-floor orientated work, as layers of electronic squiggles infect The Melody or heady arpeggios ornate the end section of Become Matter Soon, For You. There is even a taste of eighties electro, albeit seriously sedated, as Eskmo layers synthesizer washes on Moving Glowstream. He also assembles dense psychedelic soundscapes and effects which can occasionally prove too much to absorb in a single serving, especially when songs appear made of disjointed segments (Color Dropping), or are particularly intricately woven (Starship). When a track seems to let a bit more air and light in, as is the case on We Got More or Siblings for instance, the temptation to pause there for a while and take a moment to regain an ounce of composition.

There is a feeling of uniformity as the album progresses and Angelides appears to keep to similar sound sources and rhythmic, but while he never seems to stretch himself to much, this actually plays in the record’s favour in the long run as it contributes to create the overall hazy impression that characterise it. Circulating through this album is like finding one’s way through a smoked-filled maze, it is oppressive, disturbing, disorienting. Yet, there’s something totally compelling about it which continuously drags the listener in and never lets go.


Eskmo | Eskmo (MySpace) | Ninja Tune
Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP | DLD iTunes: DLD

Eskmo “Cloudlight” (Ninja Tune) (Official Video) from ESKMO on Vimeo.

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