Review Summary: Turn off your mind, relax, and float down stream.Our Courtesy
contains a collection of songs that may not display anything that is relatively grandeur in nature, but they do manage to get very deep into your consciousness. The music is composed under a rather minimalistic fashion, with each song emphasizing on inducing a soothing ambience to allure the listener. The soundscapes are very understated in their deliveries, which requires the listener to really pay attention and reflect on the music at hand. The opening song, "Higher Ground", is a very trancing piece and a prime example of the effort's stylistic approach. It starts off with a repetitive bassline that carries us along through an ornamenting sequence of electronic sounds that add to the melody. Like most of the songs in Our Courtesy
, "Higher Ground" focuses on being trancing rather than captivating. You can really lose yourself within this musical spectrum. The atmosphere is soothing and the rhythmic framework often follows a repetitive cycle, so our senses become accustomed to the music as our mind floats along with the current of each sound wave.
Instead of using flashy gimmicks to captivate immediate enthusiasm, we find Jake Hollis preferring a style that is not concerned with being as seductive as possible. Needless to say, most of the songs here are growers, and it really takes quite a bit of patience to appreciate the hypnotic qualities that each one has to offer. "The Fourth Impact" is another piece centered around a repetitive bassline which is then decorated with cosmic loops to create an almost celestial environment. It introduces a totally different style than the ambient chill of "Higher Ground". The bass is much more jubilant in "The Fourth Impact", exuding an emphatic groove that makes it all the more inviting, while the overall sound still manages to produce a mesmerizing spectacle with its synthesizer effects. The concluding track, "Mandelbrot", is one of the main highlights of the EP because it's kind of a reprise of both the trancing and mildly upbeat styles of the Our Courtesy
. This particular song has no organic bass, and is instead composed of samples and loops drenched in resonant echoes that make up the rhythmic beat. In its progression it grows much more dynamic, even featuring a prominent vocal sample that expresses no actual words, and instead uses the sound to embellish the music with a catchy harmonic hook.
Jake Hollis himself has described the music of Our Courtesy
as merely something for the mind to swim in, melodies and sounds to get lost in that help us escape reality for a brief moment- and that certainly captures the essence of the EP. This a pretty drastic change from his previous effort, Introspective
, which was an album comprised solely of ambient soundscapes. Our Courtesy
, on the other hand, borrows influence from downtempo and trance, which gives it a much more accessible sound. As I said before, this is a very entertaining EP and the music that it exhibits is orchestrated with stunning expertise, but quite frankly, it isn't anything special. There is nothing innovative or fresh about the content here. Jake Hollis certainly meets all of the basic compositional demands for the genres that he's affiliated himself with, but he doesn't add any unique spins of his own into his music, making it just a generic offering that has very little lasting appeal. Each song tends to operate under a very hit-or-miss technique that emphasizes on inducing a hypnotic trance, and when we finally succumb to the will of the music, it leaves us floating through surreal cosmic spaces for a brief moment in time, and that's pretty much it. There's some light excitement thrown into the mix that we encounter along the way, but they aren't enrapturing enough to have us hit the repeat button. The experience of Our Courtesy
is kind of like seeing a movie that was good, but when it's over, you don't have the desire to watch it again in full anytime soon. But nonetheless, this is a very impressive release, especially since it was constructed by an artist that's still in his teens. Our Courtesy
is really just a stepping stone into a new direction for Jake Hollis, and when compared to his debut, it's a huge advancement in both artistry and accessibility. If this is a sign of things to come in the future, his next project may be a major turning point for this underground producer's career.