Album Review

Carpooling

Carpooling

by Forest Spirits x Sable


8 / 10
4th April 2013

Reviewed by Nicholas Walsh


Born out of collaboration, Carpooling is the love child of a distinctly 21st century bromance. With a mutual musical respect established by way of drunken emails, Forest Spirits and Sable soon began making the kind of trance inducing beat music that has blog writers gushing and stoned twenty something’s ‘buzzing out’.

On this effort the two Auckland based beat makers (Liam Richardson and John Sable respectively) join forces to create music that's both ethereal and driving thanks to an equal emphasis on ambiance and insistent house-informed rhythms.

From the get go, the EP basks in the hypnotic. A washed out vocal sample opens the aptly titled, 'Island Time' as percussive layers take their sweet time to assemble. The clipped vocal samples introduced here mirror the work of Clams Casino. But while that New Jersey native doesn't tend to stray too far from the boom-bap of hip hop, Carpooling is rhythmically more aligned to the shuffle of house music and two-step.

The beats on the album are slinky and seamless but it’s the production duo’s use of melody that will keep listeners coming back. Those that do will be rewarded for their effort. The opening bars of ‘Muscle Cars’ for instance, almost resemble something from your mum’s easy listening compilation on first listen. The track changes tact halfway through though, winding up sounding less like Enya and more akin to Aphex Twin’s earliest cuts. It’s tangents like these that make Carpooling so suited to an immersive listen.

The albums centerpiece, 'I Miss You', grounds proceedings as a vocal refrain insists itself over foreboding bass notes. Here, a knack for evoking emotion is pushed to the forefront. ‘Miss You’ and album closer ‘Take Care’ in particular walk the line between euphoria and bittersweet nostalgia.

Stylistically, Carpooling is very much the sum of its parts. It comes in the wake of Sable's excellently received '4 A.M' E.P and bears Forest Spirits’ flair for emotive composition. It joins the ranks of increasingly world-class releases from local beat makers, available on a ‘name your price’ basis. This album has already seen love from ‘tastemaker’ status blogs, so don’t sleep. Or if you do, sleep to this.






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