Electronica is at an apex that critics can’t seem to stop talking about this season, and if you’re curious what all of the fuss has been about, I’d recommend taking a peek at the genre’s esteemed underground and specifically contemporary acts like Elektragaaz. Unlike a lot of their predecessors, Elektragaaz isn’t creatively limited by the aesthetical framework of a specific narrative they want to tell – nor by the technological inefficiencies of their ambitions. They’re the type of players who like to get right down to business, and considering how much they have to say in the new EP The Synaesthetic Picture Show – Now Playing, Pt. 2, that makes the task at hand in the six songs contained in the record’s tracklist all the easier for them to accomplish.
Tempo is crucial to forming the moodiness of “Sister Sangfroid,” “Reflections in a Funkhouse Mirror” and “Presentiment,” but I don’t think it’s exaggerated in comparison to the other elements in the music here at all. On the contrary, there’s such an even-keeled foundation behind every one of these compositions that one really has to question whether we’re listening to synthetic machinery or living, breathing musicians half the time (albeit in the best way possible). The emotion in this EP is inescapable, but more importantly, it’s being sourced from a place of honesty and intimacy as opposed to one of observation and commentary, as has been far more common in theatrical electronica of this kind in the past few years I’ve been following the genre.
There’s a lot of depth to this content that isn’t solely defined by the sonic intensity of the music, and to best understand what I’m talking about, you need to crank up the volume on “Little Dancer Makes Her Getaway.” The psychedelic and funk influences are so prominent in the composition that it makes everything from the winds to the synths and the guitar parts sound like they’re right here in the room with us as opposed to being contained within the studio in which they were recorded. A big part of it is the meticulousness of the mix, but don’t be fooled by the polish – there’s a lot of elbow grease in these arrangements stylizing the more fetching climaxes more than they are simply facilitating a precise execution.
Among the more provocative and stimulating extended plays I’ve heard lately, The Synaesthetic Picture Show – Now Playing, Pt. 2 is an essential acquisition for electronica buffs this year, and really anyone who has a taste for the eclectic in modern music. Through the diversity of the material, we learn a lot about who these musicians are and what their ultimate goals are in this industry, and without a lot of producer-led grooming, Elektragaaz are able to sound more direct and focused in their attack than most of the mainstream acts I’ve been reviewing in 2021 have. Theirs is a story far from its conclusion, and it’s getting quite sexy in The Synaesthetic Picture Show – Now Playing, Pt. 2 to put it mildly.