04 October 2013 (released)
14 December 2013
Slack Armada’s ‘Slack Armada EP’ is an Instrumental offering with a very ambient, ethereal feel for electronic synthesis that transcends physicality. The slick 4-track offering can only be described as akin to being taken into a wondrous realm of stereophonic spirituality using post-rock composition.
Occasionally cacophonous, but always alternatively artistic, the self-titled album is, in the words of the artist himself, ‘a project that feels a lot like waking up, like a rebirth’. Coincidentally, it sounds a lot like that – lethargically downtempo with stretched-out leads, synths and a library full of treated effects to create complex yet memorable soundscapes.
The lengthy compositions don’t really need lyrics that will add very little to the mix, such is the richness of textures of this shoegaze offering. The expressive arrangements signal narratives in a manner different to any vocalisation. In some respects, many of the samples used in the compositions sound like they are derived from vocalisations in a meditative hum sort of way. ‘Your Majesty’ is a perfect example of this. Slack Armada, or James Hrabak as he’s known away from the boards, describes his intention of making ‘the music speak to somebody without the additional guide of a human voice’ and essentially the EP achieves that, particularly to the trained ear.
Combine the uncooperative glitchy and experimental nature of a Four Tet or a My Bloody Valentine record and you can best appreciate what this Chicago-based multi-instrumentalist has set out to do. This EP is loud, inventive and entirely unbridled from the constraints of conventionality. This is more than just music, this is melodic artistry.