Today we have the privilege to premiere “Elbow from the Sky” a second track from Austin-based producer/instrumentalist DVS*’s, Comfort Zone EP, set for release December 9th on Emancipator’s Loci Records.
Naysayers who pigeonhole electronic production as a programmed, contrived cousin to acoustic musical composition are forced to retract their bias when considering an artist like Derek Van Scoten (DVS), whose creative process and centers around organic instrumentation. Since his earliest performances, Van Scoten has integrated instrumentation into his output; in 2010, he began as a solo act, lacing live guitar over electronic tracking. Since, he has amassed a catalog of notable originals and toured alongside notable livetronica acts Big Gigantic, Beats Antique, and EOTO, among countless others.
The ‘ maximal’ nature of popular EDM places DVS* and other downtempo producers confronting a young demographic obsessed with “turning up” at a disadvantage. That is, trying to catch the ear of someone who clicks ahead to the “drop” when he’s looking at a waveform on Soundcloud is difficult. In contrast to “turn up” music, with buzzing lead synth and exorbitant bass, downtempo is all about balance and subtlety, we hear different elements mutually illuminate and support each other.
DVS*’s has definitely adhered to principles of subtlety on The Comfort Zone EP. “Elbow from the Sky” is especially exemplary of the balance Van Scoten achieves between instrumental and synthesized elements in his mix, demonstrated in the track’s dynamic, structured melodies and resonant ambiance. We are left with a coordinated synchronicity between the individual elements, that achieves the ethereal aesthetic label boss Doug Appling (Emancipator) and his contemporaries pioneered for the genre in the late 00’s.
Still its impossible to relate a track like “Elbow from the Sky” with the old Emancipator classics, there’s no grainy, dirty drum loops or vinyl sampling. Instead, we have a dancier track with a more repetitive kick and bouncing synth. Indeed, the genre is now expanding beyond the formulas of its originators to include new sounds, rhythms, and structures. Loci’s “Season One” releases are the first wave of production devoted to this end.
DVS*’s Comfort Zone EP will be released December 9th through Loci Records. Pre-order for the album is available via Bandcamp, and includes an additional remix of Emancipator’s “Merlion”.
Electronic music is the only art form that has given me unrelenting hope for the survival of our species. I study criticism in the north country and track the scene in an effort to put to words the familiar feelings that escape most of us and are reduced to terms of “awesomeness.”