Om Unit Aeolian EP
Om Unit's first offering of original material to appear this year is—of course—a bit all over the place. Thankfully, his third EP for the Civil Music imprint finds the producer continuing to inject his tracks with a tasteful sense of melody, and despite having a pair of frivolous remixes and a questionable vocal contribution to its name, Aeolian still makes for another solid outing from the London resident.
Since he first began appearing on the production scene, Om Unit has not been an artist easily defined by a single genre, turning in pieces of space-age footwork, funkified beats, and bits of electro-infused bass along the way. Here, the London resident returns with a collection of dense boom-bap that lands somewhere between the G-funk side of the West Coast beat scene and the more dubstep-informed instrumental affairs often crafted by his fellow countrymen. Each song presented on the EP is a full-on production—the stereo field is opened wide and filled with melding layers of glistening synths, watery pads, massive bass, and booming drums. With "Ulysses," the record begins amidst its deepest cut, burying a skittering beat underneath thick, glowing pads and arpeggiating melodies. In a similar fashion, the record's other standouts—all instrumental affairs—intertwine vast arrays of synths (some sounding more distant than others) with weighted drum beats and heavy-handed, slightly swung basslines. This aesthetic combines with fellow Brit Kromestar for the buzzing "Lightworkers Call" and gets mixed in with the faintest touches of juke-indebted percussion (and even some echoes of IDM) on the EP's last original number, "Slowfast Matrix."
Even considering the aforementioned pair of remixes by Reso and Sweatson Klank (which are not really offensive, just superfluous), the only misstep—and its a pretty big one—on Aeolian is the EP's sole vocal-adorned offering, "Dark Sunrise." Enlisting London's Tamara Blessa, the track's vocal performance and lyrical content are entirely over-dramatic and the accompanying production follows suit, dipping way too far into lazer-wobble territory. Though it would be unfair to say that Om Unit hadn't flirted with similarly treacherous sounds before, we would consider "Dark Sunrise" the first real blunder of this proportion to come of it. Still, considering the strength of the other productions Om Unit packs into Aeolian, the song results in no more than a minor blemish on a worthwhile outing that should serve to remind us how lucky we are to have a "skip" feature on all of our modern playback devices.
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