Slow Magic – ▲ (2012)

Yes I know this particular symbol is heavily associated with so-called “hipsters” (thanks Tumblr for that stigma), but Slow Magic’s debut LP ▲ (or Triangle if you prefer) is…ok well it is a bit indie I suppose because of its chillwave tag, but this is actually a pretty sweet little release.

Summer’s closing in on us now (even though it certainly doesn’t feel like it here in the UK), but we’re all starting to build our Summer playlists, starting to wind down as the end of exams and ultimately, term, appears on the horizon, and it all nicely coincides with freshly squeezed Summer tunes from a plethora of genres. Chillwave is perfectly suited for your impending Summer listening; a hodge-podge of casual, 80’s synth fused with downtempo dream pop beats and floaty vocals. This sweeping generalisation doesn’t apply too badly to ▲.

“Corvette Cassette” begins our short but sweet listening experience; with ▲ clocking in at just about 25 minutes long it follows in the vein of many chillwave releases and acts more like an EP in appearance, although it does squeeze a good deal into that seemingly short time. It actually starts off pretty well, especially if you haven’t heard the entire thing before. Cutesy, distorted samples with some pulsing bass slaps and shuffling and shaking ambiguous background elements. “Toddler Tiger” rolls in on lo-fi synths and contains some  nice keyboard moments as the faux piano intermittently joins the fray.

“Feel Flows” zipping synth lines roll over a bed of hazy bass slaps and fragmented vocals, and “Youths” also continues the light and carefree vibe with it’s samples of children laughing and playing (not unlike Boards of Canada, just about 1000x less creepy). It’s a gauzy, lightly lo-fi feel with just a hint of distress, like a slightly worn out memory.

“Moon” reminds me a bit of what Young Magic did earlier this year in the latter half with Melt; strongly 80’s influenced, low-key synths with an incredibly spacious and slow sound, just nicely counterbalancing the slightly more uptempo beats but not diminishing the warmth. “Circle” is my out and our favourite though, picking up the same vibe as “Moon” and bringing in the same chopped vocals from “Feel Flows” but spinning out some fresher beats; still smothering them with a layer of fuzz but bringing in some percussion with more attack later. Despite it being quite enjoyable and certainly groove inducing, it does sort of emphasise the somewhat recycled sound and the unfortunately short nature of this album. The last two tracks of “Sorry Safari” and “Music” don’t really add much else really, although “Music” is a decent outro, slowing down the pace and just tying up the loose ends.

So it turns out ▲ doesn’t really hold up to close inspection too well, but for some nicely chilled background music for your barbecues, your trips to the beach, your poolside listening, look no further.