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Eskmo

Released by Ninja Tunes, 10/5/10

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.

After releasing an onslaught of singles, EPs, and remixes for the likes of Bibio and Bear in Heaven, San Francisco’s own Brendan Angelides, aka Eskmo, has finally landed. Ninja Tunes, home-base for a diverse roster or electronic extraordinaires, has scooped up the emotive maestro for his self-titled release.

Opener “Cloudlike” is unclassifiable Eskmo. His dream-like sequence of deep pulsating textural soundscapes is stamped with dark vocals and ethereal haunts. He builds layer upon layer, upon layer; it’s seamlessly blended. It could be ambient, it could be emo, it might be glitch, or tech. Either way, after the first song he leaves you floating into the abyss.

Bolder abstract compositions like “Starships” and “Communication” awaken the senses with robotic vocalizations, splashes of glitch, and synth antics. It’s these track that make one realize why Amon Tobin is the perfect dueling comrade (they came together for a collaboration called Eskamon, and the release “Fine Objects”). Both experimentalists of sorts, the vast array of tinkers and blips, create a visualization of a mad man with a sea of instruments at his disposal.

This twelve track menagerie is infused with myriad cultural influences and electronic genre-bending. It’s a true treat for those with schizophrenic music taste and for listeners with highly developed ears. Eskmo is a master at creating sensory overload with a mellow, chill-out ambient vibe, and that’s not an easy combination to master.