EP review by KevW
Vancouver musician TAWD (real name Todd LaPlant) describes his sound as "textured, uplifting, dreamlike ambient music". Now as a general rule of thumb, that's a polite and fancy way of saying "dull directionless beats and synths that have little other use than forgettable background music, it's just me pissing about on a laptop really." On his debut EP 'NorthWestern Passages' he proves that his description is in fact bang on the money. Yes this is ambient and airy, nothing leaps out at you and it gently drifts instead of grabbing you by the scruff of the neck, but it sounds terrific. A little bit like the ambient shoegazey mixes of Ulrich Schnauss and the European dreampop brigade.
It's all very subtle and refined, but it shimmers and has character too. The cloppy beats on 'Beginning' and 'Mountains Beside Me' are particularly effective and these songs reveal themselves to be more than your average bedroom producer noodlings. There's a warmth and softness that keeps your brain engaged with what's going on instead of just floating aimlessly over you. 'NorthWestern Passages' isn't going to change the world, but these soothing beats and luscious synth layers are the perfect tonic for the morning after the night before, or any other occasion where an inspiring and (as TAWD correctly pointed out, uplifting) chillout is required.
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