In this week's Homespun column we looked at two split EPs featuring local artists: The first is a collaboration between St. Louis' Parisian and the now New York-based Phaseone. The second pairs two beloved locals, Old Lights and Demon Lover. Check out our reviews.
Split seven-inches have long been a smart way for bands to divide the expense of costly vinyl, but the best splits pair acts that take a shared common ground and modulate away from that center. Lefse Records has given over a platter to two St. Louis natives, the New York-based Phaseone (a.k.a. Andrew Jernigan) and the still-local Parisian (Ian Jones).
Both producers start with the rudiments of hip-hop -- drum machines, old-school synths, vocal loops and samples -- and take them to increasingly spectral places. Parisian's "Sean" replicates some of the evocative moodiness from last year's Those Emotions Ran High. A wet boom-bap keeps steady time for breathy synthesizers that surge and recede amid equally airy and wordless vocal samples. A quick arpeggiated run of an analog synth keeps the track's second half grounded on earth; otherwise, this song sounds destined for the clouds. Phaseone's track "It's Not Forever" is similarly spacey but a touch more aggressive, with a busier rhythm track and a vocal snippet (the song's title) that repeats ad nauseum without quite becoming a mantra. If the song isn't totally indicative of his strength, Jernigan's sense of aural feng shui within his tracks only gets better with each release.
Parisian and Phaseone work from the same sonic palette; the most you can say about the pairing of Old Lights and Demon Lover is that they work from the same gene pool. Kit Hamon plays bass and sings lead on this Old Lights pop song, and his brother JJ is lead noisemaker for Demon Lover, a three-piece that, with this 45, is making its recorded debut.
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