Eskmo :: B Sides Unreleased Vol. 1 (2008​-​2012) (Ancestor)

For someone with a production method so devoted to minute layering, any window into that creative process bears immediate scrutiny. Fortunately Angelides has given us exactly such an opportunity through the release of B Sides Unreleased Volume One on his own Ancestor imprint.

 Eskmo ‎:: B Sides Unreleased Vol. 1 (2008​-​2012)

Eskmo (Brenden Angelides) tracks are certainly known for their intense complexity—the sheer breadth and volume of samples used on his monolithic self-titled album is one of its primary hooks. For someone with a production method so devoted to minute layering, any window into that creative process bears immediate scrutiny. Fortunately Angelides has given us exactly such an opportunity through the release of B Sides Unreleased Volume One on his own Ancestor imprint. These five tracks were either scrapped entirely or heavily edited before release and illuminate the path that leads to such towering tracks as “Cloudlight.”

The first three tracks constitute a subgroup of their own. Eliciting similarities to artists like Sorrow and Volor Flex, these songs combine garage inspired rhythms with incredibly heavy reese basses and inevitably contrast quite a bit with the slower, almost deliberately industrial sound that we’ve come to expect from Eskmo. The standout from this grouping is “Pacific,” accented with lovely bells and shuffled high hats, it surely evokes the dark depths of its namesake. The fourth track “Our Lives” will be much more recognizable to those familiar with his album. However, it is unfortunately somewhat marred by the out of place vocals, and in the end is essentially a weaker version of “We Got More.” Nonetheless, an interesting exploration. The best is saved for last: the standout track on this release is without a doubt the alternate version of “1996,” a very different variation of which was released on his Language EP. When I first heard the official version of “1996” when it came out, I didn’t much care for it as I found the main saw lead to be simply too repetitive. I eventually came around and started to appreciate its heavy machinery aesthetic. The unreleased version, however, is an incredibly vivid and unique piece that leads to some head scratching over why it didn’t make the final cut. The main saw synth is done away with entirely and replaced by a meandering pattern. While the official version had a fairly simple drum design comprised solely of a kick, snare, and some cymbals to accent, the unreleased track contains a lovely rolling rhythm made up of a myriad of sounds. The short samples of laughter and speech are also much more prominent in the mix and really complete the atmosphere.

As it costs a mere dollar, this EP is certainly worth checking out if only for the alternate version of “1996.” Be on the lookout for Eskmo’s second full length album Sol, due out in early March.

B Sides/Unreleased Vol 1 (2008-2012) is available on Ancestor.

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