Release Date: Mar 3, 2015
Record label: Apollo Records
Genre(s): Electronic, Ambient, Experimental Electronic
As long as it took for Brendan Angelides to find a scene to work in, it's taken nearly as long for him to sound comfortable in it. With a discography stretching back to the late '90s and a string of high-profile stopovers on some of the key destinations for abstract bass music—Planet Mu, Ninja Tune, Warp—Eskmo's career itself has been more enduring than any individual record he's put out. As someone who sounds more at ease testing his ideas than sticking with and building off a formula, he hasn't had the chance to define himself with a signature style.
The music of Brendan Angelides, aka Eskmo, is vague and mist-like. Even when there are lyrics to be sung and melodies to be followed, the chamber-minded, electronically inclined collective conjure music that is only occasionally outlined by blurry lines. SOL‘s awakening moments are defined more by what is absent rather than what is present. As “SpVce” drifts into “Combustion”, the atmosphere grows denser with synth burbles, strings and elongated passages.
The proper follow-up to Brendan Angelides' self-titled Eskmo album from 2010, SOL -- released on R&S subsidiary Apollo, rather than on Ninja Tune -- is another collection of radically treated, densely layered electronic music that rejects categorization. As with the 2010 album, this material is best suited for solitary and deeply attentive headphone listening. Alien pop sounds lap, drip, creak, and swarm throughout.
Five years is a significant break to take between albums, but that's how long it was between the eponymous debut album of Los Angeles-based producer Brendan Angelides and SOL, his sophomore full-length. Informed by Angelides' orchestral composition with the Echo Society, his field recordings from Redwood Groves, Yosemite and Costa Rica and a concept centered on the character of Sun, Moon and Earth's influence on the daily life of a normal human, SOL has a driving artistic vision behind it. It's a more complete album than his debut, with flourishes that capture the imagination: the last sound of "SpVce" is similar to the first sound of "Combustion," for example, while the blending of title track "SOL" into progressive epic "The Light of One Thousand Furnaces" helps to cement its flow as a whole.