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Severant Review

by Jon O'Brien

Best known as one half of minimalist dubstep duo Vex'd, Jamie Teasdale, aka Kuedo, eschews the menacing wobble basslines he's renowned for in favor of a cinematic analog synth-led sound inspired by the proggy ambient scores of Vangelis and Mike Oldfield for his debut album, Severant. There are still traces of his 140-bpm past, such as the mellow R&B-tinged closer "Memory Rain," which combines spacious elasticized percussion with a chopped-up but soulful rare vocal, and "Flight Path," which borrows the bassline from the end credits of Blade Runner to produce a slightly sinister acid house throwback. But anyone expecting a speaker-blasting affair should look elsewhere, as its 15 instrumental tracks, which are awash with shimmering crystalline synth pads, disjointed old-skool hip-hop beats, and slow-burning melancholic melodies, certainly aren't designed for a party environment. Admittedly, these immersive soundscapes take some time to reveal their charms, as other than the hypnotic "Scissors," which combines frenetic hi-hats, helicopter-style sound effects, and a twinkling refrain of what appears to be Carly Simon's "Why," there's very little in the way of instantly memorable hooks. But while there are occasional lapses into self-indulgence, such as the meandering squelchy funk-tinged "Salt Lake Cuts" and the two pointless interludes ("As We Lie Promising," "Shutter Light Girl"), the album's futuristic and textured style of electronica eventually reaps its rewards, whether it's the dystopian ambience of "Seeing the Edges," the skittering Aphex Twin-esque "Whisper Fate," or the beautifully kaleidoscopic "Vectoral." An intriguing sonic experience from start to finish, Severant is a bold left-field first offering from an artist who's quickly establishing himself as the intelligent dance scene's "one to watch."

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