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EGA – Northward (Proto Sites, 2014)

Published October, 2014
by gnd

With its almost 60 releases spanning over a period of five years over a continuum of formats physical and digital, the Slovak label Exitab has become an influential platform for local producers of mostly accessible, beat-oriented electronica. With its sublabel Proto Sites it ventures into more abstract and dreamy, synthy territories as manifest on its first release.

Northward, the debut EP of the Slovak producer EGA is true to its title. Its tracks project an image of a joyously adventurous sonic expedition: synth melodies move over ruptures and breakages, all framed in glitches, beeps and static. From the first seconds of Northward we are confronted with a stripped rhytmical whirr of sparse loops of samples, that suddenly expand into almost Boards of Canada-esque synth athmospheres, only to climax later in a sonic mashup of feedbacks, broken rhythms and vocals-over-radio-static samples of number stations.

Wintermute, the third track of the EP, starts with a damaged synth melody on the verge of falling apart. We hear it as if it was submerged underwater, with layers of sonic debris scattered everywhere. The sound of the track is romantically dark, paranoid. Yet through all of its uncertain fuzziness, and cyberpunk references, it still maintains a fragile, almost film music-like atmosphere making it the climax of the EP.

Produced between Ableton and a modular synthesizer, the modular “DNA” of the sound gives Northward a lush, warm and triumphantly adventurous feel. The EP has little to offer in terms of unpleasant sounds or unpredictable structures. Even the glitches and noise that frame each track, as an incessant Instagram filter, sound organic and pleasant to the ear. This adventure, in all its boyish sincerity, will end well, riding The Wave into the outer reaches of the cosmos.

This article was supported by the Intenda Foundation.