Of all the solo electronic musicians currently in operation, Melbourne’s Tristan Coleman favours the late night intimacy and weirdness of James Blake. Yet whereas Blake’s vocals tend to veer between tentative and romantic, Coleman’s tones are rich, dominant and soulful. Whilst this debut EP recalls collaborative producer-led outfits such as Alpha and The Beauty Room, Coleman takes on both producer and singer roles himself here and the results are beguiling.
It’s apparent from the opening strains of ‘Good Money’; a track which meanders like a psychedelic journey, taking on 1980’s synths, soul music, and more modern day techniques en route. ‘Rituals Pt. 3’ combines strings, alien noise, clarinet and back-breaking basslines into an intelligent stew; recalling the often overlooked Red Snapper. Of the two other tracks, the macabre ‘Precious Ghostly Metal’ is either eerie or just plain evil, with only Coleman’s own vocals reminding us that this music has been engineered by a human being and finally it’s left to ‘Bad Money’ to find that rarely discovered middle ground between downbeat and hyperactive electronica.
An awful lot of ground is covered in just twenty minutes of abstract listening material, with Coleman frequently surprising with his mind-bending arrangements. Yet whether its soul, jazz, psychedelia or just plain old electronic music you like, ‘Still Life With Sound’ already seems like the opening chapter to the story of an exciting artist.
Alpha, The Beauty Room, James Blake