There’s a new IDM artist in town and sure enough those inevitable Boards Of Canada comparisons are delivered on the new album by Melorman AKA Greece-based Antonis Haniotakis. After a rather underwhelming last effort from Scotland’s electronica enigmas, though, Haniotakis would probably choose another reference point but he gives a decent account of his own skills on his always pleasant, occasionally excellent new album ‘Waves’.
Gentle ambient chill-out seems to be the order of the day based on the evidence of ‘The Sky Out Of Your Window’ where samples of female ghost vocals ease in and out of the glacial beats. On the face of it there’s not much to it but the next track should strike a deeper chord. ‘Glow’ augments the relaxed arrangement with skittering beats and a sense of melancholy. Thereafter, a similar ratio of sounds emerges with nice but a little underwhelming tracks juxtaposing those which evoke the emotion and invention which Hankotakis strives for. The tracks which fare best tend to have more urgency or, rather, a quicker sequence of beats whereas others are content to follow the intelligent background music route. ‘Girls In The 70s’ is arguably the stand out moment; made up of several lush layers of electronica, it’s a complex piece which has the crucial element of a rock solid hook. ‘Numbers’ deserves similar praise even if it owes to Kraftwerk’s song of the same name as well as being the clearest indicator of the obligatory Boards Of Canada influence but its main calling card is its variety and the willingness to make the listener’s ears prick up.
So overall, ‘Waves’ sums up all that is good and not so good about electronic music today. On the one hand, there’s the warm comfort of superficial background music but for at least half the time, Haniotakis demonstrates these instrumental works have more depth than one might initially expect from a man and his laptop. Ultimately, Melorman certainly shows enough talent to make one intrigued about what he will do next.
Boards Of Canada, David Newlyn