Review: Earth Boys - "Welcome 2 Earth"

Earth Boys - Welcome 2 Earth
(2015 1080p Collection)

Don't get it twisted: there's nothing noticeably terrestrial about this collaboration between minimalist graphic designer Julian Duron and "techno fantasy" producer Michael Sherburn. That's not to describe it as "atmospheric", though. The four cuts of austere normcore house pressed to the  vinyl grooves of Welcome 2 Earth are plenty grounded, rooting sublimed vapors of smooth jazz and gooey keyboard chords to a surface of prominent and slightly lo-fi, (but by no means grimy), break-beats, four-on-the-floor kicks and lumbering basslines - combined, the resulting product is a conflation of chilled surreality and blunt percussion that prevents the listener from drifting too far off into dreamland.

When I say that the record isn't terrestrial, what I do mean is that the planet that gravitationally holds Earth Boys' music together only resembles the planet pulling us towards us core to a certain degree - a flawed imitation of sorts. Perhaps this quatrain of narcotic club jams refers not to the Earth that's likely pulling you towards its core, but to a close virtual simulation of it. Welcome 2 Earth wouldn't feel too out-of-place in the background of a Sims game, suave but non-threatening; inviting, yet sinister in a lonely, empty sort of way. Maybe it's a distorted reflection of the Earth, viewed through the retinal mirrors of the two Boys in question à-la Neon Genesis Evangelion. The sphere on Welcome 2 Earth's cover is too vague and colorless to tell for sure. But it's this strange ambiguity that gives Earth Boys' sound such a strangely fascinating aura - it exists in grey areas, in the shadows of emotion and feeling. The pretty trellises of saxophone and pointillist synth melodies on "Spring Fling" feel more hollow than morose. "Catch Life" resides somewhere between intensity and spaciousness. There are no real absolutes. The emotions evoked by Welcome 2 Earth are frightening, but at times relaxation-inducing. What they are not is familiar, however common the sounds that construct them may be. If you're down to feel some post-human gloom and zone out to some grade-A old school techno, give Earth Boys' new material a spin.