In Australia particularly, there is definitely something in the water that seems to let us make some of the best and most pioneering sounds in electronic music. Post-Flume world domination, we seem to be pushing even harder to break down limitations in genres and styles, which in turn has heralded in a new era of artists.
I’ve heard these types of sounds pop up here and there before, but never have I heard them as solidified as Melbourne duo Alta and their latest EP, Awake For Days. In any other sets of hands, the sounds they work with could have turned into one chaotic mess, overbearing and overwhelming. But with Hannah Lesser and Julius Dowson, it’s controlled chaos – cool, collected and unpretentious.
The five track EP dropped last week, with the duo holding at successful EP launch in their native city a week later. I’ve not had so much FOMO for a gig in a while. I need to see these tracks live.The five track EP dropped last week, with the duo holding at successful EP launch in their native city a week later. I’ve not had so much FOMO for a gig in a while. I need to see these tracks live. From the bouncing, bassy, hypnotic opener Esses, with Lesser’s soulful croon and Dowson’s slow moving production filled with subtle intricacies that together make the track the stimulating and exciting listen that it is, I was immediately hooked from the first few seconds. From here, they move into their most recent single, Alive Again, a slow moving and gentle number using loops of Lesser’s voice to fill the track out with her eccentricities and emotions. Both tracks are incredibly different, showing just how versatile they are as a duo and a hint at what they really are capable of.
The title track is a chilled out samba style track, one that would fit perfectly in a dark lounge bar or a Latino dancefloor with it’s stuttered drum beats and synth swells. Once again, another side of Alta is revealed. How many styles can they fit on one EP?! Quite a lot more, as heard in the final two tracks. From the mysterious, creeping Stashing The Lot, with it’s mesmerizing vocals and peculiar production, to Moves – their first single off this EP and the reason I fell in love with their music in the first place, two more sides emerge in this now burgeoning body of work, but it’s all tied together nicely with a stylistic and controlled approach.
Over the last two years, we have seen the floodgates well and truly flung open, and just about every man and his dog is now a DJ of some kind. It has now gotten to the point where it takes something really different, really special to stand out, and that – in my opinion – is Alta. Fresh, new, and uncompromising, they work with a lot but they work it so well. Awake For Days should be on any electronic music fan’s “Must Listen To” list. In fact, it should be on everyone’s.