Quality Of Life came together over three days last February, a time when, like many Americans, Long and Martin-McCormick were reeling from the Eric Garner verdict—something they say greatly influenced the record. New York winter left its mark as well: the duo recorded these tracks while snowed in at Martin-McCormick's "blindingly cold" home studio. You can definitely hear this—introspective and compellingly bleak, Quality Of Life reflects the mood of a winter afternoon that's gone dark too early. Two of the tracks are ambient ("Iniatiate," "Quality of Life"), three ride sleek techno grooves ("Suffocate," "Sleeper Cell," "Laugh Out Loud"), all are cast in lovely textures—the chords are shimmering, the pads icy, the kick drums smooth and thick.
My only complaint about Quality Of Life is its political pretensions. Speaking to Juno Plus, Martin-McCormick explained the duo's somewhat loaded name this way: "Even though the music isn't overtly protest music or overtly political, these ideas were still important to it, so the band was like a sleeper cell." Given the definition of "sleeper cell," this feels a little dramatic, especially coming from the authors of such a fine and subtle techno EP.