We’ve heard whispers and rumours about this release for quite a while in one form or another. You might’ve heard Selah Corbin‘s astral vocals call to you in some of High Contrast’s work over the last few years. It’s remarkably dexterous in its ability to be featherlite one moment before kicking into overdrive and tearing off through the ether.
But a good vocal only gets you so far, at some point we need to hear the songs, see the artist’s vision, and experience their world. With the debut EP dropping earlier today, let’s see if the main course can match the entrées.
The EP begins with ‘Trace’, where a distant shimmering gives way to Selah’s opening line of “Plastic bags and dishrags, and all peculiar things…” while a coiled, complex melody jaggedly plucks below. It’s jarring, but not in a kooky way, it sets you on edge because you can feel it’s going somewhere dangerous. Soon enough it flies totally off the wall, sounding like the northern lights on ecstasy and petrol. A wall of luminescant industrial electro thumps through and pulsates throughout the rest of the track until the hushed finale. This is followed by ‘Underpin’ which is driven by percussion that will cause undulations of the spine with its almost tribal feel.
The remainder of the EP veers closer to singer-songwriter territory, combined with a Final Fantasy soundtrack. The cinematic ‘Roving’ feels like a painting that’s come alive, it’s reminiscent of Braid in it’s fractured, unsettled beauty. Closer ‘Wild Fire Sky’ has uplifting moments that feel like the more cool areas of minimal folktronica, with an ethereal, cultured sound that could be compared to A Perfect Circle’s more gentle pieces. It tapers off into the distance over the last minute or so, flowing out with a grace that gives no hint of the maelstrom that’s taken place in earlier parts of the EP.
Often when you hear about an album rewarding multiple listens, the person means “I wasn’t sure at first, but I thought I was supposed to like it so I listened to it until I did.” But here we have one that is impressive on first listen with its scope, delivery, and initial intensity but further plays allow you to slip inside the complexities. It’s emotive without being obvious, it’s well produced without losing its heart, and it’s big moments are spread out far enough to avoid it feeling bloated. On top of this it manages to feel both cerebral and accessible, there’s no obvious single yet this isn’t some pretentious twaddle for audio nerds. It’s a solid first effort that promises big things for the future.
The EP was released today, grab your copy right here.