Beats take listeners on a trip through space, color

Eskmo’s self-titled debut album was released in October on Ninja Tune. Eskmo will be performing Oct. 22 at Rotture in Portland. Photo courtesy of www.eskmo.com

Rising electronic music talent Eskmo (Brendan Angelides) released his first full-length record this month. The self-titled album arrives after putting out a slew of singles and EPs since 2005, and gaining the favor of electronica giants, such as Amon Tobin, Flying Lotus and others.
Exploring an array of sounds, beats and vocal effects, “Eskmo” invites the listener to dive deep into the world of what truly defines experimental trip-hop and down-tempo electronica. The album is rife with strange, imaginative melodies and glitchy beats that envelop the listener in a rich, spacey atmosphere.
For those willing to embark on an exploration of this odd environment, the album can be quite a bit of fun.
The warm, colorful, synthy melodies are the most interesting aspects of most tracks. These are backed by crunchy beats and other random percussion that provide the listener with some incentive to move around, although it’s certainly not “dance” music in the modern sense.
This combination is topped off by Angelides’ odd lyrics, such as “cloudlight/floating and magically colorful/pieces of sky,” with peculiar vocal effects that make the lyrics sound instrumental rather than lyrical.
Most tracks, such as “We Got More,” “Color Dropping” and “Become Matter Soon, For You,” are conducive to body movement, whereas those looking for some more eerie soul-searching should check out “You Go, I See That” or “Siblings,” which features an enticing piano melodies.
Altogether, the album sounds somewhat like a mix of Boards of Canada’s ambience, Flying Lotus’ electronics and melodies and Wagon Christ’s beats and percussion. Fans of any of the above will certainly find some appeal in “Eskmo.” The vocals are distinguished and can be an enjoyable or irritating experience, depending on the listener. They definitely add a personal feel to the music.
While “Eskmo” is a fun and interesting romp through an ethereal realm of colors and starships, it is a bit of a letdown for the prominent DJ, who has gained a sizeable following. The album is good but isn’t Angelides’ best work. Luckily, this is only his first full-length album, and he doesn’t seem to be losing any steam when it comes to producing music.
“Eskmo” was released on the influential, London-based electronic music label, Ninja Tune. Eskmo is an interesting addition to the label’s already outstanding lineup (Amon Tobin, Kid Koala) — assuming that he sticks with them. Either way, Eskmo is certainly an artist to keep track of in the future.
Eskmo will perform Oct. 22 at Rotture in Portland.
Tune in to KSLC 90.3 FM to hear tracks from the new album.

Braden Smith/KSLC 90.3 FM
Braden Smith can be reached at kslcmusic@gmail.com.

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