Review Summary: Sepalcure steal the show by taking the script and replacing it with their own
That fine line between serene and captivating and just downright forceful is exactly that, a precarious tightrope that fails to remain stabilized for even the most tenacious of artists. In that slowly evaporating portion of the underground psyche still holding true to the romantic and broken ways of more antiquated dubstep and garage beats, the amount of credible artists gifted enough to pull the wool over our eyes without our seeing it coming is shrinking by the day, that tiny dimly lit room that all unknown artists waiting to be picked up and placed on the shoulders of that almighty hype machine pass their time in, cataloged and herded in, is becoming more spacious with each passing moment. Which presents a problem, that always present notion that the scene is becoming just too damn crowded, sounds and distortions being literally beamed directly into our consciousness from every angle. Which is a wonderful thing, in a way, the sonic tapestry of primarily garage infused dubstep has never been this rich and full of color; but for every line of gold that glows bright, is another streaked and muddied with the dirt of imitation. One of the scene's biggest proponents of late was Joy Orbison's nebulous banger 'Hyph Mngo'. That love child of J Dilla wonk and bastard garage opened a lot of doors for a lot of people, not so much a landmark as a marker for a small populace of like minded individuals to not only bask at, but to pilfer it wholesale. In a way, Sepalcure are just another in a long line of sheep in wolves clothing, but instead of washing their hands clean and claiming coincidental familiarity, they've taken that very basic practice that Orbison pulled off so marvelously and added so much more to the original structure, to the point where it barely resembles its origins and becomes something wholly new and unique in the process.
The comparisons between Joy Orbison and company's wordless sing along anthems and Sepalcure's debut effort lie in that dream-like space where r&b stylings get trimmed and tailor made to be worn over the bodice of garage flamboyancy – both artists adept at the odd pairing, suitably equipped for the merciless job of destroying urban hymns, re-calibrating their heavy undertones for something more bare and disparate. Sepalcure's imagining is a much more fluid transition though, their take a tribal dub fueled one with elements of Detroit techno swelling and cresting through the cafe club mystique. They also find enough free space to work bouts of broken minimal house into the fray, bringing with it the wide eyed wonderment and precocious nature of the genre. As a result, the 4 tracks that form this charmingly detached ep glide by like a lazy Sunday afternoon, music for the ravenous soul. The title track remains the most sumptuous affair present, and it's slightly surprising how mercilessly they dispense with it by opening the extended player with it, revealing their hand so quickly. Soft and organic percussion slow tempo their way through swirling choir chants that palpitate just out of reach, their inclusion neither intrusive nor dismissive, just an amorphous hymn that continually gestates over the syncopated beats. 'Down' plays off Joy Orbison's agenda, again more of a love affair and an ode than a simple robbery. It moves at a slower pace than its idol, but those gated neon synths and drawn out build ups conjure up images of a lazy cousin for Joy's recent output. Buried deep underneath that meeting point between steal and scene stealing lies an ambient heart, skipping along over the soul deep nature of the track, playing at odds to the stripped down r&b stylings, almost setting fire to the r&b motifs and working with whatever sparks manage to escape the inferno.
'Every Day Of My Life' starts off a little more placating, initially unassuming and casual in its distant familiarity. It soon moves into more murky waters though, delicately sketching out a bass heavy yet hazy banger. Its drunken and woozy synths hark back to the wonky nature of Dilla, and these remain the focal point for the length of the track. Sensible enough to not drown out the circling and unstable synths, Sepalcure push them more into the fray at every turn, slowly raising them up higher than the casual percussion can follow, but still inextricably tied to them. The ep rounds out with 'The Warning', and goes for a slightly more hopeful approach than its reflective predecessor. Beginning with vinyl hiss and crackle, the steady beat only emerges at the end of a tremendous build up and begins its routine playing over judicious stabs of jazz tinged organs. The swirling torrent of dissonance banging around in the track's basement are ejected around the halfway mark, leaving behind only the already picked clean skeleton of the track, breathless vocals intermittently reaching up through the newly formed silence to gasp for attention. On the one hand beautiful, more than a little eerie in the other.
Belying their more intrusive roots, Machine Drum and Praveen have joined forces under the Sepalcure moniker and crafted 4 exquisite smoke tinged cuts, all tied together with kinetic and effervescent lines and unstable beats. The emulation is obvious, as is the admiration, but the goal is obviously the continuation of what's come before it as opposed to simply rewriting what's already been written. Love Pressure
is that last landmark in a blurry night out, the first rays of the sun defining the morning; it's the warmth on your back as you claim green fields as your resting point, and it's that shelter as the rain waterfalls across your view of the world. There isn't a point when Sepaclure's craft doesn't apply.