Formerly known as Cosmic Sound, Stephen Farris is a Houston, Texas based beatmaker, who has been doing this shizz since high school with fellow bandmate Daniel Berkowitz in the almighty Ghost Mountain. Farris’s style sounds like a mix between Boards of Canada and Flying Lotus, if you can believe it; the guy loves to microsample from old videotapes that he finds at garage sales, and he even released one of his albums on VHS. On his latest release, Farris decided to take a more ambient route than 2011’s Into Bloom and Phosphorescence, but the spastic, break-beat sound that fans will be familiar with can be found on the first three tracks of the CD, while the last two tracks are chilled out. While I am more of a fan of Cosmic Sound II and the -genius- Indigo, Farris proves that he has crafted a sound all his own with Fluctuate.
Absolutely Fantastic. Never heard of Harley Streten’s work until just now, but this electronic album is everything about the current scene, pulsating, dancey, beautiful melody, chill, delicious vocal features, and is at the same time lasting; I can feel it. We are so stuck in 80s trend right now, and this doesn’t totally drift from that, but stays within bounds and adds its own spark of originality. It’s the perfect blend of chill electro and upbeat that a party will love, and yet it’s complicated to the point where music appreciators won’t be bored by what many electronic artists succumb to which is a lot of repetitive nonsense. Put it in. You can’t go wrong.
Crunch and screech. All materials derive from these fundamental elements in Frielworld, also known, Thrill Jockey tells us, as “a computer purchased in 2001 running OS9, perched on a three- legged desk” somewhere in Brooklyn. Friel plainly has a gift for spiraling, happy melodies, but also loves bombastically thudding bass beats and impenetrable sheets of squelching scuzz. His strenuous efforts to sync these impulses yield a lot of jumbled messes, but also a keeper or two: “Thumper” beeps blissfully, helped, not hindered, by the surrounding racket. But when every tune stomps like a parading choir of frantic robots (especially “Scavengers”), the result is monotony, not ecstasy. With a little more restraint and sonic economy, Friel could yet win my heart.