James Hrabak is the brainchild behind the solo project Slark Armada. He recently released a self-titled four song EP Slark Amanda that fans of Four Tet, Caribou Jon Hopkins, etc. will rejoice in. It’s an instrumental EP that does a good job of never having the listener worry about when the vocals will come in. A lot of the patterns and rhythms are repetitive but also layered producing a hypnotic quality that a lot of people will gravitate towards.
The first track we are treated to is called “Rebirth.” The first thing you hear is a warm hum as if it is coming from the distance. Electronic percussion presents itself as warm waves of affected guitar that evoke a dreamlike atmosphere that creates a relaxing vibe. As it progresses it starts to expand as Hrabak introduces distorted guitar that create sheets of white noise. Rather than continually building the song he tears it down halfway through and starts all over again. A gutsy but rewarding move.
“Your Majesty” sounds like an alien spacecraft submerging into a wormhole for about the first two minutes. It organically grows and eventually builds a bit more of a foundation. It is one of the more experimental songs on the EP and proves Hrabak isn't playing it safe.
“Looper” is the most rocking song on the album as it revolves around a distorted guitar riff and drums that felt more organic. He fits in enough electronic elements to not confuse you as to who you are listening to. The best part of the song is the last minute that creates a mixture of disparate sounds into a sweet sonic cocktail.
Hrabak ends the album with “Escape Velocity,” which is the darkest track of the four. The song sounds a bit reminiscent of something you might of heard off the album The Slip by Nine Inch Nails. It is a solid way to end the album and to show us some more of Hrabak’s diversity.
Slark Armada delivers some solid material on this EP that is inventive as well as creative. It creates a solid foundation for him to expand with a full-length album.
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