Having explored a variety of techno affiliated sub-genres in the past, Aermes' well-received singles via 50 Weapons last year marked a change of direction towards a deeper, more step-orientated sound. With comparisons drawn to Burial's ethereal strain of ambient garage, anticipation has been high for Black Boulder. "Nightshifts" opens the album in a roll of plaintive xylophone tones over 2-step buoyancy, with the immediate comparison actually being SBTRKT's brand of denim pop rather than anything by Hyperdub's elusive specter.
Holding pattern, this somewhat obvious likeness is especially hard to sideline during the following vocal number "Twilight" and the unifying swagger of "Die Maschinistin." Both blurred in a wash of whirling melancholia and shuffling woodblock percussion, the title track and 'Mosquitoes' justify the "post-Burial" references, shortly before the arrival of the uncannily Zomby-esque "Hope Light." An album version of the preceding single "Slave Mode" is clearly of note, while the doe-eyed trance of the closer "12th" marks not only another late highpoint, but also the only real standout moment of individualism.
Make no mistake, there isn't a bad track on Black Boulder and it is certainly an accessible crossover release that's suited to the long-player format. But it's not very original either. As such, your mileage may vary.