Posted by: Jimmy For Reals on April 28, 2014
In an interview almost three years ago, Epiktan – aka Grimes of Brisbane-based duo Science Project and co-founder of Dub Temple Records – mentioned his impending debut album, a project built around his parents’ collection of field recordings and research tapes, made as they catalogued the languages and traditions of tribes folk on Bura Island in Eastern Indonesia. At the time it sounded like an epic undertaking and a particularly painstaking one at that – especially considering Epiktan’s connection with the self-same tribes, having spent a good deal of his youth growing up amongst them, even learning how to drum with traditional percussion as part of the experience.
It’s understandable then that it’s taken Epiktan such a long time to put the album together and that in turn presumably serves as testament to how important this project must be to him. It’s fitting too that as the son of a linguist and an anthropologist he’s approached his source material with the sort of reverence usually associated with museums and fine art galleries, treating the samples with such care and respect that it seems as though he wore soft cotton gloves and handled them like rare artefacts throughout the whole production process. At no point does it seem that anything has been added as an afterthought, the music is there to compliment the samples and vice versa, the end result being a dense tapestry of upfront production and unparalleled authenticity.
We come from the Trees might seem a bit subdued at first glance, but the restraint Epiktan demonstrates on the first few tracks belies the intensity that comes into play as the album progresses. Whilst the predominant stylistic influence seems to be Dub, there are elements of a whole range of styles that bubble to the surface as the tempo rises, running a line from hip-hop to footwork and most things between. As with most albums with a core theme it probably ought to be listened to in its entirety, but of particular note is the hypnotic chant-step of Sudah Lele, the stunning combination of snatched conversation, tape fx & traditional rhythms on Kami Geb Fuk Buru Naa and the urgent half-step pressure of Kuwihil, which comes complete with a haunting pitched up chorus line and all manner of rainforest ephemera.
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