Sei A - Editing Shadows

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  • There doesn't appear to be any clear distinction between the catalogs of Glaswegian artist Andy Graham's two alter egos. As Droido, he's released a handful of cavernous dubsteppy 12-inches on the Paris-based Missive Music label and Graham's debut full-length as Sei A, also on Missive, reaches for the stars while plumbing the same funky subterranean depths. Both, sadly, are sometimes marred by wack vox placed front and center in the mix. "Editing Shadows" tumbles the warm in with the cold to mixed results. Cozy audio artifacts—vinyl hiss and pop—strut hand-in-hand with oh-so-hip ghost-mutated house samples. When he's on, he's en fuego, as on "Smile for Me" (the song Burial would make if he ditched his scowl and got it on with Romanthony), and "Blink," a pulsing slow-burner that sloughs off sheets of warped synth noise over a grid of brilliantly sequenced percussion. But a tender hand for beats can't mask the excessive throat clearing that drags down a hefty chunk of the record. "Master of One" never actually delivers the money shot it keeps promising, though those horns are pretty sexy. "My World" is a jumbled mess that's the result of Sei A seeing the tasty angles and taking all of them instead of focusing on one. "Ether" hangs its success entirely on the abilities of its guest songstress Sara Pickin, and being at best a budget Sophie Ellis-Bextor, she can't carry the weight of the sagging track. There's a quartet of the harder stuff near the end, "This Is," "Say or Do," "It's Like" and "Hacking The Network," a suite that employs crunchy breakbeats and Batcave aesthetics in effective, but mostly unremarkable ways. You'll dig it, if that's your thing. All are essentially the same idea: a six-minute 4/4 stomper with distorted sirens, pots-and-pans percussion and radio-static muttering. There's a big bright light at the end of the tunnel in "State of Us" a limber and delicate trance bouncer that conceals a bonus track 6:43 in. That last untitled number is as good as anything else on the record, which descending flights of harp glissando and wine-glass-tinkling beats over a laserline of '80s bass. Editing Shadows is evocative of Lemon Jelly's deeper dance moments (and has a similar throw-everything-at-the-wall, see-what-sticks attitude). There are great moments, but not enough of them. At his zeniths, Sei A is a beat wizard capable of slinging his listeners off uplifting vistas into dank house caves. But at his nadirs, like talk-sung stinker "Soul Alarm," Graham is another producer who filled his shopping trolley at the crappy-vocals store.
  • Tracklist
      01. Smile for Me 02. Soul Alarm 03. My World 04. Blink 05. Master of One 06. Ether (feat. Sara Pickin) 07. This Is 08. Say or Do 09. It’s Like 10. Hacking the Network 11. State of Us