Review Summary: A startling gem of dreamy, beat-driven electronic music that, quite unfortunately, few will probably ever hear.
By now, I've accumulated enough music so that sometimes I'll be scanning my library and see an artist and think to myself "Who the hell is this and when the hell did I download this?" These cases generally make for nice surprises, because I forget entirely what to expect, and it's a nice little adventure. Made In Heights' APORIA: IN THESE STREETS
turned out to be an exceedingly pleasant surprise.
The group is a duo consisting of Kelsey Bulkin and Alexei Saba, who has apparently produced for many Seattle area acts, including Macklemore. They play a dreamy kind of trip hop and downtempo. If you've heard them, think Purity Ring, with a lot less vocal reverb and a bit more emphasis on beats, and a much less busy synth. Opener "Wildflowers" begins with a vocal sample for a few seconds before a fairly heavy beat kicks in while the sample continues. The sound then cuts out for a second, and we're introduced to Kelsey Bulkin's vocals. Remember that comparison to Purity Ring? Well Kelsey's voice is far smoother and sexier, and the lack of reverb fits the more downtempo production far better. "Viices" follows, spending the first minute focusing more on Bulkin's vocals until a killer chorus kicks in, Kelsey's voice guiding it along beautifully. The album's centerpiece though appears to be "Holla Mears," a track that focuses a bit more on the synths. The synth plays a melody that sounds eerily similar to Sufjan Stevens' "I Walked," a melody that shows up in many other parts of the tracks as well, even in Kelsey's vocal melody. It works with their sound in a stellar way.
The remaining five tracks of the album are all instrumentals of the tracks on the first half (with the exception of "Amaranthine" which was instrumental to begin with) allowing the smaller nuances of the production to shine through where they otherwise wouldn't. Even without Bulkin's dreamy vocals, the tracks stand tall on their own as instrumentals and have their own dynamic, speaking volumes to Alexei's production.
There's little to be found information wise on the duo. Nobody is really sure if they're still a thing, as they haven't done anything new in quite some time, and their facebook or other pages have never really been active, and it's a damn shame. The duo have quite the dynamic, and some serious talent behind them. And it's a good possibility that they might never make more music, as they have little to no fanbase [which might be due in part to the way they stylize their name (::M∆DE::IN::HEIGHTS::) and album titles (APORIA: IN THESE §TREETS.)] But one can always dream, right?