Balam Acab – See Birds EP Balam Acab – See Birds EP

Balam Acab - See Birds EP

Rather than release a debut album and go through the standard process of having to reinvent or put a new spin on his sound, 19-year-old Alec Koone has cut out the unnecessary and released an EP of sparkling electronic tunes that take elements from dream pop, techno and dubstep and add much needed emotional resonance.

For someone of the tender age of 19, Koone’s work here is extremely sophisticated. That isn’t meant to sound patronising; it’s just the way that See Birds has been produced- layered synths, slowed down beats, (wayyyyy slow) built up vocal samples-these are the trademarks of an established producer. In short, it’s the sort of sound that young artists move on to in order to cement their status. It’s brilliantly refreshing that Koone’s first foray into the genre sees him release such an established sounding EP.

Opener “See Birds (moon)” demonstrates the kind of sinister sound that Koone is able to get out of traditional electronic instruments. It’s easy to imagine the booming bass drone sounding incredible if played on vinyl; even as an mp3 it scratches and flickers. It’s also testament to Koone’s vision that these sorts of sounds are not a million miles away from commercial radio dance music, it’s just that with his vision and ability to draw sounds out, it sounds so much more than ordinary electronic music. The eastern tinged “Regret Making Mistakes” has the typical Balam Acab sound; a pulsing bassline is joined by twinkling electronic beeps and blips and the haunting voice of a mournful soul diva. The separate elements themselves are standard, but in Koone’s employ they are fused into the extraordinary.

The contemplative “Big Boy” aims squarely for heartstrings with its slow beat and melodic vocals gliding along with the track’s searching synths. Closer “See Birds” provides an altered take on the EP’s opener, and ends See Birds on a more optimistic note, sounding more akin to Mount Kimbie than any of Koone’s darker influences. The watery electronics and nods throughout See Birds to psychedelica (particularly at the end of “Big Boy” and carrying on into “Dream Out”) give more than a hint of influence by Animal Collective. As ever though the discernable influences on See Birds strike the pleasant balance between subtle and discernable, and at the end of the day the listener is left with quite beautiful electronic music.

1. See Birds (Moon)
2. Regret Making Mistakes
3. Big Boy
4. Dream Out
5. See Birds (Sun)

Balam Acab - See Birds EP, reviewed by Lemon on 2011-02-04T10:27:13-08:00 rating 4.0 out of 5

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