I’lls new EP Can I Go With You To Go Back To My Country is a beautiful addition to the three-piece’s repertoire of standout releases (debut EP Thread, follow-up EP A Warm Reception and two-track Fifty-Phiphti / Asakusa). This time, I’lls has successfully placed atmosphere and texture at the forefront, creating sound-sculptures through a balanced interplay of the lyrical and the abstract. This is all accompanied by an almost chameleonic dealing with personal subject matter. In the EP, ‘the subject’ is sometimes curtained in dark, near-impenetrable noise-making and at other points it rises up naked, light and semi-opaque. Dan Rutman, Hamish Mitchell, and Simon Lam must all be praised for their masterful understanding of shallowness and depth, subtlety and brutality.
Let Me Have Just One is amazing. I found myself slipping between the muted bass-lines and fractured garage-electronica, into this minimal listening-space. I’lls’ masterfully crafts these sonic voids to force you to sit patiently and feel the ambiance of non-music. It’s a bit uneasy. It is the kind of music that will play when my android-fingers peruse through the memories of my in-flesh life. But,despite its seemingly abstract nature, the song is rooted in pop song structures, and is therefore familiarly hypnotising. The band themselves articulate it best: “The EP is influenced by a late 90’s generation of musicians and producers who blurred the lines between dance music and art. It’s about making music that had both a brain and a heart.”
Keep is different to Let Me Have Just One. It starts with this bare guitar melody, which then interweaves with these vacillating vocals that swell and then shrink in both frequency and volume. Modular and classic synthesizers rise in and out of the soundscape, thickening and then thinning its sonic texture. The song is an excellent example of musical point and counter-point as wide, yawning synths are fluttered upon by crystalline chimes and crunching samples. This melodic incantation with its jilted 808 melancholia, and careful balancing of the jagged with the smooth, is a testament to I’lls intelligence and sensitivity as sound-wizards.
So make sure that you give this album a thorough listen. When you do so, you will need a box of tissues to wipe away your tears as you experience the sublime. You can catch the boys in action at Splendour In The Grass later this month as well!