Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Album Review: Sun Glitters - High EP

Album Rating: C+
Witch house, post-dubstep, dark-chillwave... I think it says a lot about a movement when so many phrases are coined to describe it. Call it cynicism, but it’s my opinion that music has reached a point where we have too many genre-tags to juggle. Whenever a revolutionary album emerges, it seems, we have a handful of journalists eager to be known as “the one who created the term ‘x’”. So how’s this for a handy one-word description? Intoxicating. The swollen landscapes of bass, subtle melodies, and minimalistic percussion topped-off with heavily modified, easy to grab vocal samples results in the kind of music that fills your mind and frees the soul; its steadily encroaching patterns inviting you to lose yourself. This is the genre Victor Ferreria fits neatly into. His debut full-length under the moniker Sun Glitters, Everything Could Be Fine, showed him experimenting with the genre by off-setting the expected dark atmosphere with an almost Boards of Canada-esque optimism. The warmer textures and beautifully endearing vocals helped distance Ferreria from his competition, and while the conflicting motifs caused the album to stall occasionally, it nevertheless remained a captivating and incredibly interesting record.

High sees Ferreria forget this somewhat. The distance between haunting, almost intimidating backdrops and the uplifting, laid-back foreground has been reduced hugely - resulting in something that flows more successfully, but at the same time seems a little less inspired, a little more forgettable. In some ways his music has become a different entity entirely: resembling something closer to a summer chill-out mix. Whether or not this change is welcome is obviously up to the individual listener, yet even I have to admit that this new slant isn’t without its merits. High kicks off with a track by the same name; its pulsating rhythms lazily developing into a shoegazingly rich sea of sun-drenched textures. Strangled repeats of “you make me high” solidify the care-free, optimistic tone. It’s positively catchy, albeit in a slightly more shallow way than we’re used to with Ferreria’s music. Underneath this all, however, we still catch glimpses of complexity and subtlety, with the percussion stubbornly maintaining an off-beat loop as he plays around with the solid 4/4 house structure that he’s restricted himself to up to this point. It gives the tracks a kind of stumbling, dream-like quality: invoking some character back into the music.

The remaining two original releases carry on in the same vein, accumulating in “They Don’t Want To Let You Know”, Ferreria’s most danceable song to date. The much sweeter melodies and increased tempo beg an inverse comparison to Jon Talabot: where Talabot moves away from the summer party scene, Ferreria’s can’t move quickly enough in the opposite direction. The remixes on the EP only support this view in that they’re fun to listen to, but a little gimmicky and not really attempting to offer anything unexpected; although they suffer further by lacking the skill and care that Ferreria still manages to showcase on High. It’s a testament to this skill that he has previously managed to make a successful album out of a style which deteriorates in quality as soon as the balance of fun and depth tilts. Sadly, while High may stand up fairly well on its own merits, this reviewer can’t help but feel a little disappointed.

The High EP is available for streaming and downloading on Bandcamp.


1. High
2. It Takes Me
3. They Don't Want To Let You Know
4. It Takes Me (MMOTHS Remix)
5. High (Jewellers Remix)
6. They Don't Want To Let You Know (Sumsun Remix)

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