Tribal flair and world beat motifs resonate loudly in this new offering from Isis Graham and Haakonsen. This blurring of geographical borders applies to both artists not just in principle, but also in practice. Both artists have played a multitude of settings across Western Canada, from festivals in the lush coastal wilderness, to multi-level nightclubs, to side-street bars in Calgary’s warehouse district. The stylistic elements of each of those spaces is captured in this four track EP. The deepness of atmospheric lounge-oriented house music stands perfectly alongside the roaring of festival-moving selections.
The EP opens with “The Circle, and “That Thang,” two new tracks by Isis Graham. “The Circle” is unrelenting, and fully energized from the onset. Dominant horns immediately call to mind the recents trysts between dance music and Central America’s cumbia, while the song’s deep kick is resonant enough to handle the expanse of any festival stage.
“That Thang” captures the revelry of a packed, yet intimate, club at the height of the night. This is in keeping with Isis’s extensive history of playing Calgary’s chamber-like venues. Percussiveness takes center stage here, with punchy organs punctuating a floor tom bass line.
Haakonsen’s two tracks, “Over The Ear,” and “Between It,” demonstrate his continued resolve to improve his finesse as a producer. “Over The Ear” is packed with minute details. Woodwinds, meticulously placed custom sounds, and discreet vocal samples demonstrate the resolve of someone who functions with the fervor of an artisan. “Between It” continues down this path, blending pianos and vocal samples with house music’s classic “jack” beat. For both artists, this EP represents a foray into new territory, while harkening back to dance music’s cosmopolitan upbringing.