Down Review: From Here, For Anyone
Hidden Shoal

In a pairing that seems as inevitable as it is natural, Down Review's From Here, For Anyone EP unites the talents of n5MD vets Tim Arndt (Near The Parenthesis) and Medard Fischer (Arc Lab). The project has been in operation since 2007, with the two first meeting online via the Toronto-based MMBP label (which issued Arc Lab's The Nineteen Floors in 2005 and Near The Parenthesis's Go Out and See a year later) and then collaborating on “Sitting in a Room” on the 2007 Near the Parenthesis album Of Soft Construction (n5MD). In simplest terms, the EP's material can be characterized as wide-screen, richly-textured electroacoustic sound design underlaid by laid-back rhythms inflected with subtle shadings of funk and hip-hop.

With its blend of chiming electric guitar textures, keyboard-generated sparkle, and crisp downtempo rhtyhms, “Anything is Everything” is as close to a textbook example of n5MD's luscious electronic style as a track could possibly get (even if the EP's released on Hiden Shoal). Commendably, Down Review opts for understated elegance, with the duo recognizing that the song's twilight ambiance is all the more effective when delivered with restraint. “Archive” whirrs and clicks with greater comparative urgency as it slinks through a dense minefield of percolating breaks, funky synthesizer punctuations, and layers of crowd babble and electroacoustic sounds. “Always Enough” swings entrancingly until a mid-song breakdown coaxes a gentle keyboard melody to move to the forefront, which is soon joined by a distorted voice motif and machine noises as the track builds itself up again, after which the ebullient sway of “All In” glows with a paradisiacal dynamism that manages to be both subdued and epic. Perhaps the oddest thing about the release is that it's EP-length only, considering how prolific electronic producers tend to be. One expects that it's only a matter of time before a full album's worth of Down Review material sees the light of day.

October 2009