- With last year's PRISN EP, Vester Koza decanted his inky atmospheres into a few new vessels. OTR, his first release for Houndstooth after three years on his own Maslo label, continues the experiment. Its four tracks are not so much Workshop-style house as a kind of electronica. The drums are light and asymmetrical, coyly hinting at electro, and cloudy deep house synths have given way to austere tones that glide past in regimented clusters. But the basic effect is the same. Koza's minimalist tracks have hidden aspects beneath their rumpled surfaces. The more you listen, the more they open up.
Half of OTR sails emotional waters, tacking between alienation and warmth in the style of some '90s IDM. On "OT_R~cord [4.10]," chords descend calmly over constantly fidgeting drums, the effect is a sense of endless drift. Koza can barely bring himself to end it, opting for an abrupt fade-out after six minutes. The unjustly short "served_on_barm [4/3]" is an even more beautiful take on a similar idea.
The other two tracks are harder to decode. On "ROBOCow.exe," tart chords and a rounded, Lowtec-style bassline spar for attention as shrill synth notes tickle the eardrums. "ZRTP [P-Bass_special]" is drawn from dub techno's primordial ooze, its chords rising to the surface like viscous bubbles. In their withdrawn moods, these tracks reflect the EP's theme: privacy in a hyper-surveilled world. (Some track titles reference encryption methods.) You sometimes wish they'd say more, but withholding is what makes Koza's music so engrossing.
A1 OT_R~cord [4.10]
B2 served-on-barm [4/3]
B3 ZRTP [P-Bass_special]