Sepalcure Make You EP
On this latest EP for Hotflush, Travis Stewart (a.k.a. Machinedrum) and Praveen Sharma (a.k.a. Braille) sound as if they've properly settled into their Sepalcure project. The five tracks that make up Make You are some of the most understated tunes that the pair has released, but there's a relaxed, melodic depth to each one. It's as if—an album and several EPs into the group's run—the pair has found enough of a comfort level that its members no longer feel the need to make bold stylistic moves, and can instead fully focus on making music based around lush melodies and subtle rhythmic complexity.
The EP's title track is one of the release's more energetic moments, but it's hardly full-blown dancefloor material. The juke-informed rhythms that are omnipresent throughout nearly everything Stewart touches are still present, but—even by Sepalcure standards—they're stripped back and feel looser and less frantic than in much of his other work. Instead, the focus is shifted onto the melodic drive of the soul-influenced vocal, which sits amongst rising waves of reverb and feedback that eventually give way to an utterly lovely acoustic guitar line. The result is hardly a million miles away from the tracks that appeared on the pair's 2011 debut LP, but it feels like there's just a slight bit more depth here—there's maybe just a little less concern over adhering to the laws of dance music, and a little more classic songwriting prowess.
The same can be said, to some extent at least, about each of the tracks that follow. "He Said No" sounds like cliché-ridden '90s chillout filtered through Sharma's and Stewart's rhythmic creativity; its make-up of major-key guitars and slow washes of melodic atmospherics would sound ridiculous were it not for the brilliant way that the latter half of track falls apart into an excellent mess of percussion and noisy feedback. "The Water's Fine," on the other hand, is a relatively straightforward Sepalcure tune with its rapid kick-and-clap beat and hyped-up synth arpeggios—although the reverb-cloaked gang vocals that sit beneath the track are a fantastic touch.
The final two tracks of the release are both decent, if perhaps a little more forgettable. "Rumours" just sounds like it could be a leftover from the pair's album—which isn't necessarily a criticism, given the strength of that record—although some trace of the impressively dense layers of "Make You" does emerge towards the end. Beatless closing track "DMD," meanwhile, is nicely composed and makes for a great little outro to the EP, but at a minute and a half in length, it's over before it really has the chance to go anywhere. Still, on the whole there's a lot to enjoy throughout Make You; most of all, there are clear signs that the Sepalcure project is reaching full maturity, and that bodes exceedingly well for things to come.
XLR8R Downloads Player