Austra - Habitat ep

by Brian Lange. Rating:7 Release Date:2014-06-17

Synth-pop, dark wave, new wave, dreampop, indietronica, and whatever other sub-genre you like.  The Scandanavian influence is strong with this one. Singer/songwriter Katie Stelmanis has incredible talent, as evidenced on this four track EP. They're from Ontario, but they really should be from some dark Norwegian country - she's Latvian, so I guess that's close enough.

Can electronic-based acts be jam bands? Though considered a 'dark' band, you can hear the smiles on some of these tracks. Like children playing with their knobs and levers on a noise-making machine, the loops of analog sound will make you bob your head up and down, side to side. 

A lot of this EP feels experimental. Loose ends and leftovers too good to toss in the bin, but not quite wholly conceptualized. Don't be led astray, this isn't a bad thing in the slightest. The sounds are right, they're fitting for the record. 

Avoiding all clichés, this EP feels like a journey; rather, each track feels like it's own journey. There is the distinct impression that something is happening and progressing, despite the repetitive beats and sounds. 

Some will say this type of music is easy to make with the right machines. Find a sound you like, loop it, add a bass track, some treble, some vocals. Boom. Well, this may have an element of truth to it, but it's really about knowing what sounds work well together. 

No matter how layered, filtered, or minimal, knowing how to arrange sounds is an artform. Austra do it well, and they have a bright future in this genre. 

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