Part of the appeal of trippy electronic music is that a dense combination of sonic layers is often equally good for standing up, lying down, chilling out or losing your shit. While their earlier EP Touched exuded a more downtempo, bliss-out vibe, this two-tracker, the inaugural installment of a projected three-release run for vaulted New York weirdos RVNG Intl, is resolutely more groove-oriented yet still excursive. Fairly speedy BPMs means that all manner of blissed-out pads and loops can occupy the upper frequency ranges like little fluffy clouds, and the jams still stay firmly danceable. It's the Venice Beach of psychedelic dance music: Toes in the sand but still flexing some biceps.
I haven't heard something as stridently sunny as "Lover" since John Talabot's "Sunshine," which fittingly enough Blondes remixed as well. The track plays its cards close to its chest, letting watery melodies cascade over hairpin bass grooves, all nice and friendly-like, and then unleashing an otherworldly tribal warpath chant halfway through—very much an "uh oh I think the drugs are kicking in…" moment. It reflects the instability of psychedelic experience, where at any moment bliss and terror can trade places.
On that note it's worth mentioning that the Blondes series for RVNG is all about pairs of opposites, and that as much as it's supposedly intended as the dichotomal counterpoint to "Lover," "Hater" sounds like it picks up right where the former left off—it could easily be the dub version with war cries on mute and a warm shower of handclaps instead. It begins disorientingly enough, with thick, jellyfish-like clusters of analog ambience collaged against a drum loop that puts a snare on the upbeat rather than the downbeat. This produces a slightly "off" sensation that allows the track to build up rhythmic momentum in a simultaneously suspenseful and trippy way, before climaxing in some sci-fi sky-kissing.
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Tracklist: Blondes - Lover/Hater A Lover