Keep Shelly in Athens: “Campus Martius”[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/KSIA_Campus_Martius.mp3|titles=Keep Shelly in Athens: “Campus Martius”]
Morrow: Hailing from Athens, Greece, Keep Shelly in Athens (whose name is a play on the Grecian suburb Kypseli) is a down-tempo/chill-wave electronic two-piece that has garnered steady ‘Net buzz since last year. The hype, to this point, might be a tad undeserved, but the duo’s recent In Love With Dusk EP demonstrated potential across a spate of digitized genres, even if it was heavy on the Ibiza influence.
The major appeal here is the interplay between singer Sarah P and producer RPR (mysterious!), whose styles seem to be coming into their own. With Campus Martius, the duo’s first release on Planet Mu, there’s less of the beach-y nightlife and ’80s cheese; instead, there’s an urban, industrialized, and ambient vibe to better fit Sarah’s elongated and reverberated vocals.
Hajduch: Planet Mu has gotten really great at finding acts that aren’t really on the dubstep reservation per se (see also Rudi Zygadlo) and sort of shoehorning them in in a way that seems natural. Hyperdub is adept at this as well, having recently released an EP from normally stoner/weird Hype Williams that made the bass weight just make sense in context.
It’s cool how this EP does spazzy Aphex Twin drum-and-melancholy, deep bass lines, vocals that would sound at home on a Sneaker Pimps record (one-time Aphex tourmates!), and of-the-moment pitched vocal slicing. It’s neat how these elements hang together in a way that seems familiar and yet revelatory.
Morrow: Also, we should note that the Campus Martius EP, which is only four songs, opens with a remix of the Solar Bears song “Cub.” This is what put KSIA on the Mu-dar, in fact, and it’s an interesting way to open a release that otherwise is original material. The remix is the poppiest and most rock-tinged track, and though it’s a well-made alternate, I actually listened to it after putting on the other three tunes. I’m glad that it did, because I probably would have gotten a different impression of Campus Martius if I hadn’t — especially given that “Cub” is more than five minutes long. I’d recommend starting with “The Chains,” which is just as haunting but has those slightly darker, grittier elements.
Hajduch: The remix is listed as A1 on Planet Mu’s webpage. I actually thought it was a solid introduction. The chopped vocals are nice; I’m into it. I’m also pretty relaxed when it comes to adhering to a vibe on a 12-inch — usually, you’re just showcasing tracks that a DJ would want to play, and saving the heady sequencing decisions for the LP.
The remix of “Cub” also wins for having a great-big Phil Collins snare. Maybe they should just remix Phil Collins. No way it’d be as hot as this Idjut Boys edit — Now That’s What I Call Chillwave!
Anyways, the EP occupies a pleasant, bassy corner of the dubstep/post-dubstep/synthesizer/whatever continuum, and it’s a fun listen. I’m excited to hear a full-length. I’m sure I’ve said this every year since like 1999, but Planet Mu is on a roll.