New-Cross based producer Halls, a.k.a Samuel Howard, recently released a self-titled EP that is pretty astounding. Immediately striking connotations to recent artists like Baths and Washed Out, Howard pretty much hits an apex between genres. Sounding as much electronica as he is chillwave, the Halls EP is an intriguing collection of material that you’d be foolish to miss. The EP opens with the finely crafted “Warsaw Radio Mast” a mish-mash of undecipherable vocal samples, making comparison to Mount Kimbie’s “Would Know”, before plunging headfirst into “Shiner”.
Aside from the song partially name-checking his album last year, comparisons with Gold Panda come to mind, albeit in a much more, slowed, sparse style. Across the EP Howard also utilises manipulated vocals, though they are less James Blake and more Washed Out’s Ernest Greene, contributing to this drained and deteriorated style. However, there’s contrast with songs like “Cave Days”, which reminds me a little of Toro Y Moi, having a more enriched sound and what can only be described as a vague remembrance of a calypso beat. As if it’s attached to a bad memory or a regret, manipulating a positive vibe into something with only negative connotations.
There’s also “Chakra Drums”, which is in a way the most traditionally electronic song on the whole album, opening with a glitchy, drawn-out beat, it’s subverted by an undercurrent of noise and wails that produce only a sense of foreboding and the equally ominous, epic closing song “Rise” stretching past 8 minutes, is bound to breed feelings of doubt and worry in many. My personal favourite is “Kaleidoscope” which has a relaxed vibe and an addictive beat, it connotes it’s namesake with the shifting, floating quality to Howard’s vocals. Annoyingly, the song ends way too quickly, even being more than three and a half minutes long, it feels like it should go on. And on. And on.
You can buy the EP, for as little as £1, over on his Bandcamp. Stream and download “Kaleidoscope” below.