My label mate Gabriel de la Mora released his debut EP "Collection of Choices" this week and he was so kind to send me a copy for reviewing. Since the album was mainly created using the Elektron Digitone, I thought you guys might be interested to get some insights and details about the release.
"Reviews" are something new to my blog, and I will publish them frequently from now on. I think it's very inspiring to listen to other artists' work and share my thoughts with you! If you have proposals for future reviews (even your own!), drop me a message.
Gabriel de la Mora about his EP
Let me start with a little text that Gabriel send me together with the music files.
"Using mainly a 4-Track cassette multi-tracker (Fostex XR-5), a Panasonic Cassette Walkman and a few effects pedals: It was only natural for me to approach these recordings in a very minimalistic maner. I did mostly one takes and recorded directly to cassette tape. I also wanted to embrace the "live" aspect of playing music on this record.
This album is the result of me learning how to use a cassette multi-tracker for the first time. I had just purchased my first cassette multi-tracker off of my friend and as I was getting familiar with this machine and format I recorded "Collection of choices" My "mistakes" will be noticeable in these recordings, I embrace them.
(no computers were used in composing or recording, only in the mixing and mastering I relied in digital processing)
The instruments used on this album are the Elektron Digitone for 3 songs, and the Roland JU-06a for 1 song. (4 songs total) The "samples" of the album were reproduced with a standard Walkman and they are cassette tapes that i've been gathering during my many scavenger hunts through flea markets (swap meets), garage sales and thrift stores in my city, so i always find some very unique and random cassettes tapes that date back all the way to the 80's."
My impressions of "Collection of Choices"
Now let's get to my impressions and I can tell you right up front, I am extremely in love with this release! "Collection of Choices" is an ambient album consisting of 4 tracks with a total running time of over 40 minutes.
The music feels extremely atmospheric and create a dense atmosphere, from the first minute to the last. This is not least due to the way the tracks were produced (or rather, it's the main reason!). I love the lofi feeling, which on this EP is really lofi and not a DAW plugin. You can just feel that.
One can definitely listen to the EP "on the side", as is the case with many ambient productions. I wouldn't recommend it, though, because the music tracks are packed with so much detail that you wouldn't catch half of it.
My track by track thoughts
What Kind Of Distraction? (00:00)
The track offers great ambient atmosphere and sounds and immediately draws me under its spell. Gabriel plays super nice harmonies, and I keep hearing the little "mistakes" that were created during the production and deliberately not edited. That's so cool, I'm into that kind of thing :D
The song has a very sweet buildup that keeps adding new elements over time and bringing variety to it. The soundscape is directly "dreamlike" and floating.
We shared The Sky (14:28)
Suddenly I am pulled out of this dream world - the track stops abruptly and the next track starts with a surprising sample of a radio announcement, which develops into an interesting soundscape. Well done.
The song starts rather gloomy, but after a short time super nice pads and pads let me dive back into the sonic world of Gabriel.
What strikes me here for the first time are the fluid transitions between the tracks.
Also this track inspires me with beautiful sound carpets and great interwoven textures (just my thing!).
Although I have never taken hard drugs in my life, I still imagine the state when you take some after listening to this track (and I didn't know the track is titled "Drugs" until I wrote this review).
The Space Behind Your Eyes (29:06)
The last track brings some percussive sounds into play. I hear clear FM synthesis from the Digitone, which fades into one of Gabriel's great sonic tapestries towards the end.
You can tell I'm a real fan of this creative production! This is of course due to the minimalist production approach itself, the appreciation of the small glitches and mistakes, the organic sound and the equipment used but also not least the whole concept - Gabriel de la Mora posts on his Instagram page also visually matching content and lots of background stories.
I think, especially in the field of ambient music, there is unfortunately far too much average music without soul. "Collection of Choices" is not one of them - if you are looking for an inspiring album, you are in good hands here!