Boomkat Product Review:
Bay Area duo Wonja Fairbrother and Daniel Letson (DJML) spin careful, skeletal ambient dance pop on 'Colocate', their second full-length. Influenced by city pop, skeletal house, new age and gentle idm, RIYL Driftmachine, Newworldaquarium, Hieroglyphic Being, Visible Cloaks...
It took Fairbrother and Letson some time to put together 'Colocate' and their slow and steady methodology drips from the pores of each track; nothing is showy or overworked, everything careful and intentional. Staying free from metered timing to give the rhythms a more human touch, the recordings combine with gentle field recordings (church bells in Freiburg, cicadas in Lousiville) and lo-fi sampling techniques for an out of time effect.
The influence of Japanese city pop - think YMO or Tatsuro Yamashita - is the most obvious initial reference, but even this is obscured by smart nods to dub techno, minimal house and shimmering new age music. Opening track 'Radiolarite' initially sounds as if it's going to mimic the environmental ambience of Hiroshi Yoshimura with its croaking insect sounds and staccato xylophone, but soon develops into a jerky shuffle that's painted with distant synths and a foggy dubwise throb.
'Misplaced Ceiling' sounds like T++ or Parris reworked using a general MIDI sound module, while 'Gaze Brace' is as funky, low-slung and sultry as anything on Italians Do It Better, but utilizes an almost inverted rhythm with no obvious kick drum. Minimalism doesn't have to be soulless, and Fairbrother and Letson inject enough humanity into their subtly evolving productions they they fill brimming with feeling.