Somewhat fittingly perhaps, there was a snowstorm on the day that I got this CD in the mail. I hopped in my car as the snow and blowing intensified, and imagined that the piles I would make with the shovel that I was on my way to purchase would look similar to the big dirt-stained piles on the cover of this release. Instead of sounding cold, though, like the piles of snow, or deserted, as Parking Lot Music might emply, E*Vax creates some of the warmest electronic music that I've heard in some time. If Autechre is the cold, almost alien landscapes of a freezing snowstorm, E*Vax is music for the next day, when the sun is coming out and melting everything away.
Yet another excellent release on yet another small label, I again found myself behind the curve on discovering E*Vax, as Parking Lot Music was released nearly a year ago and the follow-up is already in creation. Considering this is a debut release, though, it's quite good. Warm, hummable melodies drift through every song, and smart rhythm production keeps things interesting with enough clicks, cuts and skitters to put a nod in your noggin.
The disc opens with "The Process Of Leaving," and you're immediately greeted with a lush melody that is striking in its simplicity. Repeated for nearly the entire length of the track, there are only subtle shifts in tone over it along with a subtle, rumbling clicky beat for guidance. Similar to the sounds that Múm create, the disc rolls along through different tracks without ever really missing a step. "Contra Costa" takes more of an ambient approach, echoing blips and bleeps out into space while light melodies float underneath while "We Believe In Broken Bones" takes a bit more punchy approach and grooves along to an absolutely beautiful melody while beats take on a bit of a crunch (without sounding nearly as hostile as the title might suggest).
One of the things that Evan Mast (E*Vax) definitely knows a thing or two about is keeping things sweet. Although some tracks on the disc run a little bit on the repetitive side (and lets face it, there isn't much electronic music that doesn't), there really aren't any points on the disc that stretch on for too long. If anything, an almost pop sensibility applies, as 11 tracks span just about 45 minutes time and just as the warmth of one track has soaked up around you, another one takes off from where it left off. If you go to the E*Vax website, it says that he's is currently in the studio "creating the most melodic IDM release ever," and while that might sound a bit boastful, Parking Lot Music definitely shows that the ability is there to create something amazing. Fans of releases on the Morr Music label should drop what they're doing right now and seek this out, as well as anyone else who enjoys warm electronic music.