Edapollo adopts a similar musical approach to Snuise, reviewed here earlier this month, but rather than drawing inspiration from the undulating and coastal vistas of San Francisco, he is surrounded by the diverse urbanity of Bristol, UK – a liberal and artistic hub that has spawned seminal names including Portishead and Banksy.
The producer’s recently released debut EP, Shallow Swell, nonetheless seems to transcend this locale, drawing inspiration from far east and west of it in equal measure. Its timing seems seasonally incongruent, however, as its polished guitars, enveloping synths and pulsing rhythms demand a sun-drenched day viewed through a filter of insouciance. There are beats throughout both intricate and persistent, yet their design is to encourage no more than nodding head and tapping finger. This is exemplified best in the second of the four tracks, “Sundancer”, whose languid groove lulls to blissful torpor, over which the lengthy guitar refrain and vocal samples drift. Those able to remain more attentive will be rewarded with discrete textual percussion whose intricate clicks and scrapes remind of cicadas at warm dusk and feet dragging through sand. Shallow Swell is like a postcard: transporting yet fleeting.
Referred to as producer and multi-instrumentalist, Edapollo leaves listeners to only speculate as to whether the myriad layers and loops that form each track have been recorded or sampled. Clean and effected guitar work likely of recorded origin is liberally offered, and is especially prominent on the excellent “Tisno”. A simple hammer-on/pull-off chord change sets up quick dialogue with a sliding two-note refrain, while background synths morph from shimmering to levitating, filling then creating space beneath the click and pop of tenacious beat. Elsewhere, the more urgent opener “Breathing Lessons” infuses a wispish Japanese scent with a clipped anime-esque female vocal sample, decorating delightfully staccato rhythmic interplay between the instruments – the whole creating an almost glitch aesthetic. At the other end, the EP closes with an unexpected swift transition in “Marcelo” – the intricate rhythm of what sounds like a small xylophone or perhaps kalimba shifts into a lazy groove on a full drum kit, while a noodling guitar beckons the record’s sunset.
Edapollo’s aim with this assured debut is to seduce and relax. In accomplishing this, his tracks all offer a similar palette of sound and limited dynamic range – but a great level of detail. The record would almost be classifiable under ‘ambient’ were it not so alive with the pulse and industry of its multi-layered beats. Like the ocean implied in its title, the surface is easy to admire and quick to transfix, yet submergence will reward all the more with the minutiae of life below. (Chris Redfearn)