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  • Filed under: Review
  • 11/01/2013

Baio Mira EP

Chris Baio's main gig as bassist for Vampire Weekend has little to nothing in common with his solo work as Baio, aside from one factor: an intense attention to detail. Baio's latest EP, Mira, proffers four bombastic, Balearic house cuts that testify to Baio's aptitude as a producer while showcasing his honest enthusiasm for exploring a wholly different arena than the one occupied by his indie-pop dayjob.

Mira's title track is the inarguable highlight, with deft filter stabs that amplify the pivotal beat by an order of magnitude. Every sonic element rests sensually in the mix, as the various pieces have all been arrayed with a comfortable amount of space in between them. In the song's last half, a plaintive vocal hail leads to an unforeseen, freefall drop, demonstrating an excellent command of dynamics. "Welterweight" gets more slinky and personal, exhibiting Baio's vocals for the first time, and his raw singing style reeks of sincerity, even if the delivery is a little weak. The cut's main refrain also utilizes a vocal-warping technique that Vampire Weekend liberally employed on its third LP, and it functions just as well on this jovial house track.

The second half of Mira doesn't quite match the first, especially on "Zona," which ventures a little too far into Disney electric-carnival territory. The overly buoyant cut's expressive synth melodies seem to dance and converse like animatronic forest critters; it brings to mind the work of sunny sample purveyor El Guincho, but lacks the Spaniard's flagrant sexiness. Like the rest of the EP, the closing "Banj" offers bright sounds and serves as another exercise in carefully manicured space, though the house-leaning cut is more moody and unsettled than its predecessors. Still, despite the myriad of rhythmic details in play, the production always maintains a semblance of cool control. Baio's aim to combine organic and machine-like tones pays off handsomely here, making "Banj" pop in hyper-detail whenever an acoustic guitar, hand drum, or finger snap drops onto the scene. So long as Baio persists in his devotion to detail—currently in the form of spirited, ornate house—he will continue ascending as a solo producer.

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