Minor Science - Noble Gas

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  • The old adage goes that those who write about music are really just failed musicians, and there aren't a lot of examples to prove that wrong. Enter Minor Science. I've known about my fellow RA writer Angus Finlayson's music projects for some time, but I wasn't expecting something so fully-formed when the Londoner-in-Amsterdam sent over his debut EP on The Trilogy Tapes. Noble Gas has the dull gleam of music informed by the wave of moody, lo-fi house. The influence of Actress casts a shadow over its drowsy grooves, and "Foggy Situation," overstuffed with sound effects, falls victim to pastiche. The rest fare better: "Lightfastness" is a hectic collage that sounds like bits of old sci-fi movies strung together, while "Silence" buries a twangy guitar sample in synth and resonant drum hits, the whole thing receding and swelling like it's being dipped in and out of water. "The Beckoner" proves that Finlayson's got rhythm, too, applying the EP's gloomy style to a gasping funk track full of grunts and coughs. Finlayson appears to be best at crafting detailed landscapes within the structure of house and techno. Even with all of the undergrowth, most of the tracks have beats that stay balanced—these are tunes you can listen to with headphones in the dark, but you could play them out, too. The EP highlight "Hapless" stands out because it's easily the clubbiest, and it's also the smartest, crumpling the beat in all the right places and letting loose a luminous synth lead that ripples through the track in random intervals. A hackneyed Barry White sample reminds us that he's still a bit green, but when "Hapless" erupts in a burst of light it's an arresting moment that shows the old adage doesn't always ring true.
  • Tracklist
      01. Lightfastness 02. Silence 03. Hapless 04. The Beckoner 05. Foggy Situation