- Waiting For A Surprise is the result of a singular formula. When I first heard Red Axes earlier this year with Pil Sagol on Hivern, some of their music reminded me of how Barnt uses brittle electronics and combines those modest parts to create something lavish and theatrical. Red Axes' latest EP, for Canadian label Multi Culti, continues to hone that approach as it looks for a more specific sound.
When Portuguese vocalist Abrão monologues over the jabbing bassline in "Waiting For A Surprise," the tone is halfway between pillow talk and a persuasive salesman. His voice moves smoothly around the beat, but after a minute or so it stiffens into a robotic delivery. Abrão's quiet seduction is made to sound like a faulty automated PA, but it's a neat trick: the malfunction acts like a crossfader, layering extra blocks of rhythm and melody onto Red Axes' simple, hypnotic track.
"Hope" sounds like a warning as well, but one crafted from the pieces of easygoing house. Its idiophone arpeggios and cascading steel drums are dizzying, and a ghostly wail underscores the nightmarish atmosphere. It twists out some of the tension nearly four minutes in, sluicing the adrenaline with cowbells and a low-end pulse. At around 100 BPM, "The Metal Bender" is a comparative crawl, and sails on gentle electric guitar swells and cooing synth melodies. There's a variation of the screaming vocal from "Hope" buried deeper in the mix, which is emblematic of the darkness across Waiting For A Surprise.
A1 Waiting For A Surprise feat. Abrao
B1 The Metal Bender
B2 Hope feat. Zidan