Axel Boman Black Magic Boman EP

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Stockholm's Axel Boman first joined the Hypercolour camp in 2011, when one of its sister labels, Glass Table, released his Lucky Tiger EP. The year prior, DJ Koze's Pampa outpost had unleashed "Purple Drank," marking Boman as an able-handed deep-house talent. Boman's latest effort, his first EP for Hypercolour proper, takes a more playful and pop-oriented approach to the swirling, moody grooves that have defined his catalog. Even the title, Black Magic Boman, is cheeky, and that lighthearted spirit carries over onto its four tracks.

A cute melody bubbles over a neat house beat on "Cubic Mouth," and "Look What You've Done to Me" sparkles with rustling hi-hats and gentle, enveloping pads. There are no hard edges or grating sounds on the record, only rounded notes and slinky rhythms. On "Television People," Boman rolls out burbling low frequencies and flickering, disjointed melodies to create a hypnotically head-nodding sense of momentum.

The only unnerving moment occurs on "Cubic Mouth," when a searing and smooth extended synth tone slices through the song's twinkling keys, briefly confusing the rhythm. In contrast, "Klinsmann" is the most distinctly pop-oriented tune of the bunch. The combination of watery, reverberated vocals stretched thin over a gentle, rocking beat recalls John Talabot's collaborations with Pional and makes the song subtly anthemic; the vocals are sweeping but obscured by layers of wispy sound. Compared to the sensual, midnight vibes of "Purple Drank," it's a noticeable shift toward traditional songwriting structures, but the change isn't drastic or upsetting. Instead, it feels like Boman is confidently stretching the limits of his comfort zone without abandoning the gauzy, voluptuous style he's favored in the past.