Simplicity in the realm of the electronic soundscape is a very hit or miss affair. Minimalism at it’s best is a remarkable entity, that allows for projection of ones own thoughts onto a creation that doesn’t boast superficiality or an overload of elements. While artists like Tei Shi and Cashmere Cat can achieve this undoubtedly well, Sydney’s own Sebastian Carlos AKA Basenji may not be quite there yet.
That isn’t to say that there isn’t some utter shiners on his debut 6-track EP Trackpad.
Opening with leading single Dawn, the constant airwave pounding that this sparkling, bombastic production has been given means that it’s impossible not to have heard it. No doubt it is a pretty savvy tune, it’s effectiveness in the absence of vocals makes it a joy to listen to over and over again, and it’s always rewarding to stab the air in time to that catchy percussive drop. Don’t act like you haven’t done it.
It’s successor, Heirloom, follows its example with greatness. The space you feel is immeasurable, like you’re peering into the abyss with no indication of its depth. Particularly when that sub-bass kicks in around the two-minute mark. It shows the multitude of textures that Basenji is capable of and that he knows how to make interesting structural decisions to keep his appreciators hook, line and sinker.
Oscar Key Sung’s addition to fifth track About You matches the subtle R&B vibes of the production. But though the explosion of synth at the end heightens the emotion, it’s not quite to the desired effect, as the repetition of the main beat feels monotonous.
Blandness falls in with third track Petals. Featuring Perth dudes Scenic, it washes over you with the addition of piano that grounds the song. Closing track Air holds a dreamy, idyllic quality, though admittedly it does reek of over-indulgence in its six-minute lifespan.
Then there is the clincher. Second track Can’t Get Enough feels overly child-like, coy and a little cringe-worthy. With little-to-no build, the track just skips along in dollops of agonising saccharine sounds that unwillingly give you visions of patronising children’s television of yester-year.
There is definitely much room for improvement in Basenji’s repertoire. No doubt with rousing production flairs of Dawn and Heirloom, Sydney’s own could do some real damage in the world of digital dance-floor ditties. Give him time, the best is yet to come.
‘Trackpad’ is out September 25 via Future Classic, preorder here.
Watch: Basenji – Heirloom