When creative pioneers first introduced the synthesizer to the world of popular music, the entire idea of the sound they were creating was heavily rooted in strict compositions, not totally unlike minimal classical music. The idea of having to be musically trained in order to create any type of music has long since been abandoned with so many improvements in the world of technology. Although the world of electronic music has been flooded with cliché melodies and over the top live performances, there are still a handful of extremely talented artists who still make music with the intention that people will pay close attention and fully appreciate the full scope and nuances of the product.
Epsom, a Los Angeles based electronic artist, has undoubtedly mastered the fusing of minimal classical compositions with the sounds of a hard-hitting synthesizer. On his new LP, “Vulture Talk”, Epsom is breaking down all sorts of musical boundaries, creating an atmosphere that is necessary to experience multiple times in order to recognize the enormous weight and depth of this project. At times, these complex and wonderfully written compositions are lined with minimal drums, but never to an inappropriate or unnecessary extent. The drumming instead creates a proper companion to his electric soundscapes. There are heavy echoes of classic drum n’ bass drum patterns across some of the tracks on this record, further adding to the assumption that Epsom has likely studied music in depth and is utilizing his knowledge of the past to create a modern amalgamation of a variety of genres.
On one of the stand out tracks, “Ferragamo,” Epsom toys with his MIDI, creating a surface melody that sounds like a successful drum n’ bass banger. In a matter of seconds, he fades out the lead synth and drum track into a captivating but minimal synth progression, one that sounds as though it was pulled from an early 2000’s video game soundtrack. Towards the end of the track, he really brings both sides of the possibility spectrum full circle, transitioning into an exhilarating and fast-paced finale with harsh, somewhat ambient noise. The song last about four minutes or so and it pairs well with the way the album begins. The project wouldn’t quite have the same effect without the subtle melody changes near the halfway marks.
At times, Epsom sounds as though he was heavily influenced by another Los Angeles great, Flying Lotus. To build on those early Flylo “Los Angeles/1983” roots, there are portions of this record that sound like they wouldn’t exist without significant electronic pieces by German groups like NEU! & Kraftwerk. Blank Body’s influence cannot be taken for granted either. The project is really complex, and more than anything, it positively reinforces one of the more artistic directions that electronic music has taken over the past four or five decades. Not only is Epsom making catchy, smart and puzzling pieces of work, he’s talented and not afraid to utilize that talent in his music.