Nick Hallbery, AKA Edison’s Medicine, is starting the year as he means to go on. By this I mean he’s just released a debut EP, Hell Is Never Far Away. This isn’t really anything to get that excited about, as thousands of musicians have released debut EP’s this year, but what marks Hallbery out is that he’s released one that at times sounds like it’s come from three days in the future, but at the same time sounds like it’s also from three days ago.
Hell Is Never Far Away opens with Jean Baptiste, which sounds like Django Django being remixed by Dan Avery. Its catchy, rhythmic, but with a hint of big room flavour to it. Increments is harder hitting than the opener, the breakbeats are slightly tighter, the bassline deeper and the loops more menacing and invasive. As Increments progresses, everything gets tighter and cyclonic. Small eddies appear from nowhere only to disappear a few bars later. Melodies get lodged in your head only to vanish a few moments later, as another one has taken its place.
The EP closes with Godless Woman featuring Matilda Eyre. Eyre’s crisp vocals add an extra texture that was missing on earlier parts of the EP. Godless Woman is haunting and eerie, but in a delta blues way, rather than late night Channel 5 horror film. The combination of organic and synthetic sounds works well and makes you wonder if any of the previous tracks would have benefited from this treatment. After a few moments pondering you realise that no, they probably wouldn’t as you’d miss out on the subtle arranging and production.
This is an EP full of contradictions and xxx. On the surface you think it’s going to be an ambient house affair, due to its genre tags, but when you get into it you soon realise that its far more interesting and vibrant, running the gambit of experimental, tech-house, lo-fi techno and elements of soul pop, due to Eyre’s inclusion. But what is more impressive is how Hallbery has managed to arrange it in such a way that none of its elements are over, or, under powering. It all flows effortlessly along like its normal for all these elements to be occupying the same space together.