Saturday, January 7, 2012

REVIEW// Skai Nine: Ember EP

      We've covered Skai Nine here before, dissecting a couple of numbers from the Maryland-based and self- proclaimed 'music schizophrenic' way back in October. Peeling back the layers of sound revealed a multitude of synths and hip hop beats, soothing and ominous in equal, fascinating measure. Returning to them for this post was pleasant, and made the anticipation to listen through 'Ember' and the four tracks embroiled within it almost unbearable. Thankfully, what I discovered when I hit play was something so wonderfully mature, and so fantastically attenuated that I almost instantly fell in love with it. Skai Nine has progressed a great deal from when we heard him last. The complexities behind the music overlay and rub against each other constantly, sparks spat from the churning cogs to bounce among the shadows. There is a cataclysmic, apocalyptic beauty that walks through the EP, its sad eyes despondent and red as they behold the silent unexplained fall of far-off skyscrapers. Some of the numbers break away from this theme but for "just some things" Skai Nine was working on, the fact there is a theme at all is miraculous. But hey, the EP's free in the end!
     The first track from this electronic producers third EP is 'Grit', a song whose name and its connotations are more than suitably fulfilled! Pounding beats and a nervous, uncertain melody are claustrophobic, grunts of men startling you at every turn. A door opens and a vast expanse of grey confronts you. Gears grind and robotic arms crumble, the earth and all its leaders bearing down upon their shoulders. Futile snorts of primal exertion, backed by a heart-rendering melody really do make everything seen pointless. However long you run for, those hellish strains of men will always find you, and that is an extremely powerful image! Perfectly constructed, 'Grit' opens 'Ember' on a distant high. Surreal thoughts still linger as 'Telescope' begins, a five minute muse, dissecting the notion of land beyond our own. There remains heavy in the air that same subtle, nightmarish feeling we got from that opener, pushing the boundaries of space and finding nothing beyond its walls. An almost metamorphic effect floats between stars as they blink out of existence, swirling with a slow deliberation that never fails to make you sigh. 'Crystallize' follows with a crazy compilation of sounds, broken by gritty synths. Yet again a thought-provoking aesthetic comes to light within its arena of adrenaline pumping sonic combat. I loved hearing every single second!
     'All In Together' closes the EP on a happier note than its predecessors. The shortest of all the tracks here, tinkles and repeated synth phrases weave their way through it's three minutes with smiles abound. At 1:00 a great section enters the delicate fray, the muffled melodies of the waltz next door reverberating along the corridor and beckoning you to go and join the festivities. Raucous shouts add to the sense of anticipation but Skai Nine, in a stroke of genius, cuts the evening short. And thus 'Ember' ends, the last weary breaths of its burning heart dying out as thoughts of your experience whisper through your memory. I am in no doubt in regards to Skai Nine's full-length debut, to which a release date of early spring has been given. It is sure to be absolutely and undeniably amazing but for now you can stream 'Grit' down below and download the EP via the Bandcamp, for free, over here!