- Alec Storey is a details guy, sometimes to a fault. His solo work, lately as Second Storey, can favour sound design wizardry over clarity of ideas. Returning to the project after a spell with his Appleblim collaboration, ALSO, something seems to have changed. The Bismuth EP still runs on a complex machinery of burbling synth patches, tight drum edits and rubbery delays, but it's housed in a sleek new electro framework and augmented by a crafty way with melody. All four of these tracks could be about a minute shorter, but Storey's music has rarely sounded so invigorating.
The first two are built around fidgety arppegios and clinically precise drums. On the title track, a melodic progression stealthily unfolds as the track wears on, but Storey keeps it partially concealed beneath metronomic hi-hats and layers of scudding micro-texture. "Vapour Valve" is the same premise after a course of steroids: the drums are more kinetic and the melodies bolder. On "Grand Rapid," Storey raises the tempo to circa 150 BPM. This was an excellent idea—you start to wonder why the whole EP doesn't thunder along at this speed—but it serves to make closer "Helicat" feel all the more sluggish. The track's gloopy hook is clever—Storey has never had trouble being clever—but the beat underneath lacks his newfound fleet-footed funk.
A2 Vapor Valve
B1 Grand Rapid