When we hear an artist who repetitively bleeds certain influences, we may be tempted to call him out on it. That is, of course, unless we love said influence. Whether or not listeners accept obvious emulation, no one cannot deny we are all moved by something, and some of us are urged further to make something out of our inspiration. If the influence works in a musician’s favor, so be it – so long as something else is brought to the table. That said, ELOS wields the key to effectively proving his inspiration, as well as representing our generation in Scenes of Life/Electricity. Exhibiting heavy warp pedal, reverberation, and tight beats, the album gets us grooving and bops us back to hours spent playing our favorite video games.
Relaying the L.A. scene is ELOS, a representative of Low End Theory, who essentially compiles his work from retro video games. This nostalgically digital influence appears more prevalently every time we pick up a new beats album, and, although somewhat common, we absolutely love the throwback. In ELOS’s latest release, we receive all the memories of our favorite games, plus the artistic drive making them into dynamic creations. He continues the vibe of his previous EP, Flying Sky Fortress, and assembles the chopped-up slices of lo-fi tremors and sweet beats to represent our decade. Scenes of Life/Electricity utilizes transitions between volume and themes to maintain our interest while its busy samples buzz about humming bass and slick percussion. We receive a good helping of loopy, erratic sounds orbiting a hip-hop foundation.
While we ensure a heavily reverberated synth swamps the album, each track contains its own melodic centerpiece to add spice and variety. Lots of staccato goofiness exists in the form of whistles, slides, and chirps (“Hermitmode,” ”Fireblast”), but more uncommon elements appear elsewhere. Nearly undetectable soprano tones scream over the synth in “Door,” galactic sounds shimmer in “Greenscreen,” and cute, squealing pitches bounce around “Feefa.” One of the best moments is the unpredictable melody looping about “Chao.” Its construction sounds futuristic and undeniably catchy. The whole album pulls off its busy complications due to the simplicity of its bass and percussion and the consistency of vibrating synth. Within these sounds, we pick up on “Super Nintendo” influence, especially in “Werdz,” because we feel like we are digging the remix of “Super Mario’s Underground.” Excellent.
During a complete listening of Scenes of Life /Electricity, the buzzing organ synth will start to pick at your ears – it is inescapably the core of each song. However, the point of the album does not suggest we conduct contemplative run-throughs. Rather, ELOS proves to us his live capabilities, because nothing gets a crowd going like reverberation and resonance. Both his bass and synth do the work entertainment requires, especially highlighting its Flying Lotus influence (“GT2,” “Ties”). However, the juice behind ELOS’s skill oozes from his very heady beats.
Intricacy can move the masses, but when percussion’s utter simplicity sways listeners, its artist proves his knowledge of the flow. ELOS’s beats range from smooth hip/hop (“Door”), to house music (“Sorry”), to slow and crunky. He incorporates basic drum kits, handcrafted effects (such as snaps and claps, “Werdz”), and anything able to inflect rhythm, like the stomp/trashcan percussion in “Jawntourage.” Even within songs, ELOS alternates his beats. In “Greenscreen,” he switches between slow and rapid-fire inflection within measures. He also conjures illusory rhythms; in “Feefa,” the buzzing quality of the synth messes with time, appearing to enter one beat later than its accompanying percussion. ELOS is a master of flow, and rightfully boasts his flexibility. The icing on the rhythm cake is Zackey Force Funk’s rapping in “Bloodstain Burial.” The result is a filthy beat skimming under droning lyrics, perfect for late-night gettin’ down.
Overall, Scenes of Life/Electricity does not call for a complete listening, as its common elements would prove as overkill. However, the record declares its creator’s innovation and flow, not to mention his clear aptitude in supplying a stimulating live set. We’re all waiting for ELOS’s show availability… and hopefully he will bring in an equally energizing lights show.
4. Bloodstain Burial (feat. Zackey Force Funk)
14. Beam Cannon