Review Summary: Someone call the hotline, we've got problems.
Sometimes developing a voice and getting heard in the musical landscape isn’t necessarily done through conventional means. Building a repertoire and using these tools in a different field of music can be just as effective as going through the tried fashions. And honestly, those that have thought outside of the box can end up being one of music’s cutting-edge contemporaries; no less through the playing of video games. Scattle is better known for his exceptional work on the Hotline Miami games: electronic music with unrelenting tempos, furious 80s synth sounds and a moody playground to build it all on. However, his progression as an artist from the first game to Wrong Number
is a thing to behold: a compositional shuffle that honed in on the mood-setting approach to his work with a flurry of elating melodies, Carpenterian minor-key progressions and a trove of electronic styles ranging from synthwave to dubstep and funk. His work on that sequel lit a spotlight on his talent and got people talking, while the excision on Scattle’s standalone sophomore record, Sketch
, continued to deliver on all the retro goodness one would require from his previous endeavours, yet, solidifying an exciting progression to his current catalogue of music.
Being a fan of his retro savagery and ethereal soundscapes, I was excited to find a new EP on offer. However, The Plug
takes a massive shift into another direction and I fear it may just alienate some of his core audience. After all, this is an EP of subtly; with the exception of “The Plug” for its haunting lead melody and “Kick It” for containing the most noteworthy accessibility, the rest of the work here is nuanced and repetitive. A scattered and peppery drum machine pulsates throughout the whole EP while minimalistic note sequences take to the stage. The idea is perfectly interesting in theory, but the execution ultimately lacks variety: the primary focus here is a snippet of an idea used in a skipping, trip-hop influenced motion that repeats itself throughout the duration of the song; this ends up creating terrible fatigue from the get-go of this short project. I like the overall aesthetic here, it feels like a Pretty Lights offering and leans more towards a 70's vibe than an 80's one but given the lack of fleshed out ideas this feeling never fully flourishes like it should do. If you’re into subtle ambient, electronic music there’s definitely something to enjoy here, but if you’re looking for the same selling characteristics of previous works, you might be better off avoiding this.
SPECIAL EDITION: N/A