- Travis Stewart's recent Vapor City LP was marketed not as an album so much as an audiovisual experience. Its musical conceit—each track depicted a district of the titular fictitious city—would, we were told, extend to a live show, extensive artwork and a mass of additional music. Not much of this has so far seen the light of day, so it's difficult to say whether this is an ambitious modern day Gesamtkunstwerk or just a tasteful spin on the Chinese water torture approach to modern music marketing. Either way, we should welcome the technique if it allows Stewart to indulge an intriguing whim like Vizion.
Where Vapor City crossed a lot of stylistic ground, this free five-track EP is more focussed, launching off from album track "Vizion" to explore mostly un-pulsed ambience. Stewart plots a course between the most oceanic dub techno, Burial's moments of beatless repose and the epic landscapes of Rifts-era Oneohtrix Point Never. The results are low-impact but often gorgeous. Best are the instances of light and warmth—"Gold," the gloriously sun-dappled "Talk 2 Me"—while the bleaker "Vaulted" ends up a bit dull. True to the ambient credos, there is little by way of bold gesture here—"Tailor Nacht," for example, flirts with crescendo but falls teasingly short. Throughout, sampled dialogue sits far back in the mix, perhaps to convey the idea of human lives being conducted against this majestically vacant backdrop. Still, the city is an implied presence rather than a guiding force. As in Vapor City, Stewart wisely leaves the concepts to one side and lets the music do the talking.
04. Tailor Nacht
05. Talk 2 Me