Review: Phaeleh – All That Remains EP [UNDRTW003]

After couple years of silence, Phaeleh returns again with emotive, melodic material pressed on a 5-track EP. Continuing with his established style, swinging between gentle garage, ambient and floating dubstep, this time he introduces more synthesized, dance music influenced tracks, interspersed with the instrumental, atmospheric bits that expose his musical knowledge and skill; showing two aspects that make Phaeleh both an electronic producer and a classically trained musician. All five pieces represent slightly different styles and techniques and, according to the artist himself, have been created in mind for different albums, but are bound together with a common theme; retrospectively looking at his works and development across the years. This release puts thought before the frames of the style, slightly differing from his past albums, consisting of more homogenous tracks.

Starting with “Mountain”, ambient resonant bass pads and delicate piano that later get twisted into some classic Roland house flavours. All this is done quite gently and proportionally, rather adding synthesized character than turning it into a full-blown house track. Phaeleh managed not to overpower it with the electronic sound, but remain in his ambient, airy, musical sphere with gentle, glitchy clicks popping up every now and then. Before rolling back into another electronic beat, Phaeleh stops us with short and reverberant piano interlude “Acceptance”, repeating a sweet and nostalgic melody throughout. Stripped back from other elements, it competes with adjacent, more beat-driven pieces. The third track on the release is built around gentle, pitched new garage vocal samples, contrasting with instrumental character of the EP. “Remember” again falls more into dance category than the usual Phaeleh style, though it keeps his melodic, floating characteristics.

“Trails of Light” definitely stands out from the whole release through its unusual dynamics and crisp sound. This track, with its complex building harmonies, really shows producer’s deep understanding of music and his imagination as a composer. Starting acoustic and intimate with reverbed piano and ticking metronome, half-way through the melody locks in the loop and brings the listener into different, dynamic place, shaken by a fresh, Bonobo-esque beat, that rather lands in the latest Trip-Hop area, but as we know with Phaeleh, labelling is not the way. “All That Remains” closes the release as a beautiful 4 minute outro for atmospheric guitar strings, stripped from any drumbeat, leading into a real ambient direction, where one pattern and texture repeats in an endless loop until fading out. Both nostalgic and cinematic, the track possibly suggests the producer’s return to his musical and instrumental roots.

All That Remains is released April 22nd and available from the Phaeleh Databeats Store.

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