Pursuit Grooves: Felt Armour (What Rules, 2018)

March 11, 2018 at 5:49 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Pursuit Grooves: Felt Armour

Long before “deconstructed club” and “weightless” became buzzwords in the electronic music press, Vanese Smith was making music which greatly reconsidered how beats can be put together, what sounds can be looped into rhythms, what can be rhymed or sung over, and also what can be absent. She’s spent much of the last three years working more on graphic design than music, but her latest album as Pursuit Grooves has surfaced, and it’s another reminder of how brilliant she is. The title Felt Armour suggests a duality between toughness and sensitivity, and the tracks feature rhythms built from blunt, concrete noises, sometimes sounding like firing bullets, opening doors, or hard crashes. But instead of beating you over the head with abrasion, the sounds are smoothed out with contemplative synth pads and soothing bass tones. There’s similarities between these tracks and the ones she produced as 91 Fellows, but these aren’t quite as suspenseful or dubby. All of these tracks are instrumental, and they’re generally midtempo; they’re not conventional dance music, but not entirely removed from it, either. The sounds are shaped into abstract rhythms, without heavy kick drums or basslines that explicitly invite dancing. There’s movement and progression, but also zero-gravity floating. It might take several listens to adjust, but if it clicks, there’s little else that can approximate how it feels. Also, it probably goes without saying that you need to listen to this at high volume, with speakers equipped for handling heavy bass. Available to stream and purchase on Bandcamp.

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