Can EP’s be anything more than gap-fillers between Albums?

Artists primarily deal in three kinds of releases: albums, singles and EPs. For albums and singles, the role is clear. An album is a showcase of an artist’s work and singles act as ambassadors for these albums. The role of an EP is much more ambiguous. Some artists use it as a low-risk release in order to experiment, whereas others treat EPs as an extra for the fans or to swell the coffers. In addition, EPs are also used to collect an overspill tracks that did not fit on the artists’ last full-length release. Alternatively, artists can use EPs to transition between releases, perhaps if they plan to significantly alter their sound.

The first EP under consideration is Hinterkaifeck by Giles Corey. Through extensive googling, I have found out that this is the name of a Bavarian farmstead in which there occurred a particularly brutal mass murder in the early twentieth century. This is in keeping with the somber, morbid tone that runs throughout the music of Giles Corey. His first record, eponymously titled, was awash with sadness. It explored the very depths of depression and would fall into the uncomfortable category of ‘slowcore-ambient-folk’. The follow-up, Deconstrucionalist, was a divisive record, focusing much more on the binaural, ambient elements of the Giles Corey sound. This EP, however, is a return to aesthetic of the first record; the songs follow much more traditional patterns. The guitar drives the tracks forward with mechanical echoes, while Dan Barrett’s ghostly vocals weave in and out of the foreground. Without a doubt, this is sad music for sad people. At just under 15 minutes, the EP is practically over before it starts. What is certainly commendable, though, is that this EP is totally watertight. There are no wobbles and the atmosphere is cohesively suffocating throughout.

What kind of EP is this, then? I would personally interpret it as a sign that Barrett is returning somewhat to the methodology of his first record. There is a slight stylistic departure; these tracks feel more stripped down and personal. With a track name like ‘Guilt Is My Boyfriend’ combined with the simple guitar-and-vocal set-up, one feels a lot closer to the musician. This EP could fall under the ‘experimental’ tag easily enough, and I would argue that the experiment has been a success.

The second EP is the Rainstorm II released by deep house artist Levon Vincent. Vincent released what one could arguably be called 2012’s best Fabric CD, Fabric 63. The title track featured on a mix that may have started slow, but ended very strongly. The track itself is an odd one. It could quite easily have synced up with the infamous music video for Eric Prydz’ ‘Call On Me’ and may sneak itself onto a work-out-from-home DVD before the end of the year. That is not to detract from the track, the squeaky synthesizer that is the tracks focal point is charming and you can’t help but tap your feet or wiggle in your chair throughout. The real star of the EP is on the B-side, however. The snappily titled ‘DJSF II’ is a monstrous track and I have it on good authority that it laid waste to the dancefloor at the Fabric launch party. The track is mechanical and transcendental in equal parts, surmising all the positive elements of Vincent’s music.

This EP seems like one to keep fans and DJs happy as they wait for something more substantial. That is not a criticism; the formula behind Vincent’s music is highly successful and by no means requiring major adjustment. Until the next major mix, I am sure Rainstorm II is likely to be keeping headphones and dancefloors busy in equal measure.

Francis Ozanne

…Fran has been listening to Idiot Glee – ‘Life Without Jazz’

One Comment
  • Will
    6 March 2013 at 12:51
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    Interesting one. I think an important distinction has to be made for the role of EPs for bands/solo artists and producers/DJs. For the former, who are usually expected to spend months or years crafting an album that exhibits a vaguely coherent theme (be it conceptual, or just a particular ‘sound’), I suppose an EP can seem like a cop-out; instead of the expected 10 track release, you only get 3-5. For the latter, an EP can be the exact opposite. Very few electronic artists can get away with releasing a full-length album, especially in a genre like house which is obviously very repetitive. In the last couple of years I can only think of a couple of really stand-out house albums that weren’t mixes or compilations (Eric Prydz’s ‘Pryda’ and Zedd’s ‘Clarity’ come to mind). An EP, on the other hand, allows a producer to release a few tracks with a similar sound without it getting boring. As a (probably controversial) example, think about Skrillex. His first EP was a masterclass in shitty Americanised dubstep, whereas the more recent ‘Bangarang’ EP coupled this classic sound with the slightly less grating but infinitely more annoyingly-named ‘moombahcore’. And a collaboration with The Doors. So there you go.

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