SebastiAn

Thirst

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    7
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When it comes to releasing albums, SebastiAn has always been fashionably late to the party. His fizzy debut album, Total, appeared in 2011, several years after his label Ed Banger made its initial, crater-sized impact on dance music in the mid-to-late 2000s. He took his time following it up, instead spending the better part of a decade producing music for artists ranging from Frank Ocean to Charlotte Gainsbourg. If Total felt like the last hurrah of blog-house, then Thirst must be the after-after-party. Far mellower and moving at a much slower pace than what came before it, it even has a "Doorman," with the Internet's Syd adding an extra dose of cool to its sinuous groove. At times, Thirst feels like it's playing at half-speed compared to the hyperactive thrills of SebastiAn's debut. Given its name, "Movement" is surprisingly deliberate, gradually building from processed vocals and a thudding beat until it kicks into gear with toothy synth riffs that take a bite out of its hazy atmosphere; it's a move reminiscent of how fellow Ed Banger alumni Justice matured their music as the 2000s became the 2010s. More often than not, Thirst's lower bpms work well. Back in the day, SebastiAn might not have had the patience to create some of the album's best moments. "Better Now," a reunion with Total collaborator Mayer Hawthorne, floats along on a cappella harmonies for more than a minute before its slow and steady beat emerges to underscore its message of lasting love. Similarly, "Run for Me," which features Gallant, has the heft to soundtrack an epic romance. Elsewhere, SebastiAn finds different ways to show how much his music has grown over the years. He re-teams with Gainsbourg -- with whom he worked on 2017's beautifully heartbroken Rest -- for "Pleasant," a dark, dirty, grinding track that doesn't live up to its name in fascinatingly menacing ways. Of course, SebastiAn doesn't entirely give up his signature sound. On the Sunni Colon feature "Time to Talk," he harks back to the heyday of filter-disco with tiny string flourishes that turn into the sweeping drama of "Beograd." Sparks bring some of their wonderful weirdness to "Handcuffed to a Parking Meter," an oddball earworm that makes the connection between new wave and Ed Banger's day-glo modus operandi joyfully clear. While Thirst's generous length means it meanders occasionally, it gives SebastiAn plenty of room to show how much he's grown since the early 2010s. Even if his music has slowed down, it's not standing still.

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