Essentials: “Remnants” EP – Kaelin Ellis.

Off the back of his barnstorming collaborative NPR Tiny Desk Concert, Kaelin Ellis releases Remnants, 5 tracks of moody, atmospheric and engrossing beats.

The aptly titled “UH,UH” kicks the project off, with a spellbinding rhythm weaving in and out of focus over bouncing bass and intermittent synth flares. It’s a start that captures the imagination for what is next to come on the EP. “GRIMES” is next up, easily the most eerie of the instrumentals, with haunting piano plinks feeding into a bass that bubbles under the surface menacingly.  Chopped up vocal snippets provide seasoning on top of what is already a certified room-shaker.

“RICOCHET” with London’s Outlaw The Artist is mesmerising, with layers of hypnotic synths exploring every sonic avenue of the beat. It seamlessly transitions from almost boisterous in nature to a tune that is more downbeat and almost mournful, a change that leaves you in awe of how it is accomplished.

Platformed on a bouncy rhythm, “OOPS” Is the EP’s standout song. A woozy and mysterious track with chirpy synths intertwining with a plethora of melodic textures, it slowly snakes from one avenue to the next . Its hard to tell whether in fact it is a chirpy synth tone or a detuned vocal snippet, a fact that only adds to the mystery that shrouds the track. “GO”, the closer, is the fastest paced of all the beats, incorporating more chopped up vocals and nasty buzzing bass. Its a fitting, blood-pumping finale to a wild ride of an EP.

Ellis’ often sparse but never unwelcome keys set the tone across the record, tying the various motifs together. All this is underscored by a smorgasbord of eclectic percussion of all sorts that grounds each beat into an unshakeable rhythm. Each track is a journey in the most literal sense of the word, making this one of the most unmissable releases of the year.

Follow Kaelin Ellis on Twitter.

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