Even within Liquid Stranger‘s weird and wonderful Wakaan label, Esseks stands out as maybe the strangest of the bunch, and one of the most compelling.
For A Hole in the Fourth Wall, the Brooklyn-based producer tightened the interstellar quirks of his past EP’s with impressive songwriting and texture work, and it pays off in spades.
Give the EP a listen below:
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Where albums like 2017’s Cartoon Violence toyed with John Carpenter-style synths and 90’s video game effects, the songs still hit a pretty one-note space bass squelch. This time, each track is fully realized and laser-focused.
“Heavy Meta” is a behemoth intro track, churning and stormy. And “Bully” picks up right where it leaves off, spiraling darkly in a doomed sonic wormhole. The thick punch of these tracks reminds us a lot of Minnesota’s Curio EP from earlier this year, which is a great sign.
“Only1” is perhaps the best song on the whole EP. A rattling ping-pong effect blends perfectly with a swirling “you’re the only one, you’re the only one” vocal sample. It’s a cold, caustic drift through space-time.
Interestingly, stellar guitar playing makes it way onto “Tunnels” and “Little Wires” and it’s a wonderful change of pace. The blistering pitch-bent solos slice through the space debris like a hot knife through butter, and never overstay their welcome.
On A Hole in the Fourth Wall, Esseks dials back some of the grinning insanity from his Broken Bones EP, which is missed, but the tradeoff is the most gripping, cinematic set of songs from the oddball producer yet.