Matters Of Stability is a sharp 24-minute electronica EP that can’t quite seem to decide which way it’s going, and feels like it’s trying to pack an album’s worth of ideas into too small a space. At times, such as when “Neon Primavera” properly gets into its groove, it’s an alternative take on a progressive house or a light techno. Yet there’s a lot more going on besides- particularly a strong emphasis on glitchiness, lo-fi filters, EQ drops, retriggers and playfulness, full of the kind of surprises that entertain the passive listener whilst clearing the dancefloor. There’s also a smattering of other acoustic instrumentation, handled with a deft touch.
“Neon Primavera” shows a shade of James Holden eventually, after a long intro. “Atlantika” has a slightly harder techno vibe, before “Electric Goodbye” slows things down to a slightly grime-like swagger complete with pitched-down indistinct vocalisations. Each of these pulls the established trick of holding one of its layers back until almost the end of the track, to keep surprises in the pocket and keep things moving- a guitar riff in the former, an industrial mid-tone in the latter.
The last two tracks feel like they belong on a different release, almost. “Stars Under The Snow” adds in a live cello sound onto a deeply atmospheric and emotive melody that leaves the more driving rhythms well behind, before “Sad Dream #1” goes a step further and throws in a vocal from Joss Loner and a poppier, almost cinematic vibe.
Instead of being a criticism, the quality and controlled energy of the production turn this EP’s ambitious scope into a virtue. Though built with familiar ingredients it’s a fresh-sounding and to some extent genre-spanning bit of electronica that certainly draws in the ear.