Review: Kodiak Fur - "A Cool Machine"

Kodiak Fur - A Cool Machine
(2016 Self-Released)

If Chance The Rapper's Coloring Book is evidence of a shift towards gospel-influenced meta-modernist aesthetics in hip-hop, the latest 4-track EP by Miami's Kodiak Fur could be considered a similar omen of forthcoming sincerity in synth pop. A Cool Machine finds the quartet harvesting the ripest fruits from late aughts chillwave acts like Com Truise and Small Black, future funk's waviest timbral offerings and vaporwave's retro-futurist appropriation of elevator music tropes: the resulting bumper crop of influence is a polished retrospective of buzz-band era indie electronic acts stripped of their polaroid-filtered irony. 

The record's timeless sense of ambiguity is conveyed most effectively via "Right Now", equally evoking the pop melancholia of Pet Shop Boys, Washed Out's sultry wisps of silicone ambience and the occasional splash of smooth jazz riffage that might have frosted a late 90's INOJ single. The viscous blend of R+B dreaminess is solidified by a chunky bassline that wouldn't feel out of place on a DJ Mustard production, adding a bonus fourth panel to the tune's decade-spanning triptych of inspiration. "Run The Night", co-produced by fellow Floridian SKUFL, acts as the bombastic antithesis to "Right Now", layering spacey melodic pyrotechnics across the pitch darkness of the tune's consumptive bass while Albert Vargas' cozily muffled vocals pass by traffic heard through your bedroom window before drifting to sleep. It's the sound of distant combustion, as explosive as an M83 anthem,and as powerfully gloomy as a Travis Scott banger. A Cool Machine covers ambitious territory with few gimmicks employed; it's effortlessly cool, immediately resonant.