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  • Filed under: Review
  • 10/25/2013

Cupp Cave NVMB

Belgium's Cupp Cave (a.k.a. Franz Baker) is one of the most intriguing voices to emerge in what might be termed the post-Actress milieu, a generation of producers who subsist on dusted, off-kilter arrangements and sidechain-compression trickery. The artist just seems to have better groove awareness than most of his contemporaries, and as a result, one gets the sense that many of his tracks would stand up even without their experimental production values. NVMB, Baker's latest EP, is certainly not a grand statement, but it's no detriment to his reputation either.

Listeners wondering about the Actress correlation ought to hear it in immediately in the staccato, glowing synths that open "Everlastic," or the frayed wires, reminiscent of that producer's "Again the Addiction," which pervade "Tomb Face." On the former, though, Baker counters that influence with a woozy soul sample and a slow-motion bump, belying a hip-hop influence and adding warmth to a disquieting premise. NVMB's midsection contains its finest moments, as its tracks' seams are not as visible. On the too-brief "Insight," low bass stabs and staggered drums underpin shimmering, mesmeric synths and a captivating, if fleeting bell melody. "Through Tired Eyes," meanwhile, feels as somnambulant as its title, as its bleary, squashed dreamscape makes the drums feel alternately slower and faster than they really are. Again, there is an entire movement of producers making disorienting music like this, but few have Baker's chops.

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