New Tab, which begins with the cascading chords and squiggly synths of "Canada Line," is immediately inviting. "Canada Line" is named after the train that runs between Downtown Vancouver and the airport, and includes station announcements that should trigger memories for anyone who's spent some time in the city. "Wheeler Road" features a single sustained synth lead whose flutters make a kind of melody in itself, encouraging you to zone out and get lost in the music's subtle changes.
Voices mutter and hang in the air throughout New Tab, which only adds to the album's half-lidded feel. Russian conversations on "Dialogue 6" and "Always Glad" sound like the distant din of a television left on, while recordings of voicemail messages on "Dotty" add a touch of intimacy. With these chattering samples, plain arrangements and vintage electronic sounds, parts of New Tab recall early Biosphere and other '90s ambient producers. Those artists summoned alternately comforting and eerie atmospheres with relatively rudimentary equipment. Khotin-Foote's music pulls off the same feat, veering between spacey and homespun in a way that feels surprisingly natural.
Rhythms start to emerge over the course of New Tab. The centrepiece, "Fever Loop," unleashes a trebly drum break and a piano line that, in a faster track, could've been part of a triumphant peak-time banger. Khotin-Foote's ear for arrangement is especially clear here. Once the piano lead is in full bloom, you barely notice how much the track has changed from its slow, bubbling start. It's the same prodigious touch that makes his house tracks so smooth.
By the time New Tab rolls towards the end, the drums are back, and the music resembles a more subdued version of the music Khotin-Foote usually makes—it's as if his love of making house had slowly resurfaced during the recording process, which he calls a "healing experience." The album's title at first seems like a joke about the internet, but maybe it also means something more sincere: New Tab could easily mark a new beginning for a producer known mainly for making dance music.