And now for something completely different…

If like me you enjoy going out of your way to find musical oddities in the deepest reaches of Bandcamp, or you feel a need to be constantly listening to and exploring new music, then give this a listen. I unearthed this during one of my electronic/experimental binges a couple of months back and the sweet pianos, beautiful layering, hazy production and consistently strong beats keep me coming back. From what I can tell, this is a one man electronic music project and if you enjoy the sound of this EP, you’ll be pleased to hear that Haircuts For Men is a pretty prolific project, with several releases being dropped since this came out in April.

Each track has its own unique character and a lot of different instrumental tangents are toyed with throughout the EP, but the recurring features that you will pick out are the gorgeous piano melodies that feature on nearly every track as well as the overall forlorn atmosphere. The modulated synths on track one (I’ll refer to the songs as track one-five for convenience’s sake) that almost shoot for a tape loop kind of effect, when combined with the melancholic melody create a feeling of nostalgia as if the project is trying to create the sonic equivalent to looking at the past through rose-tinted glasses. This is particularly apparent when taking into account the very crisp and modern production which is contrasted with sugary levels of reverb, so it would be a fair assumption that there is a level of self-awareness of modern and retro production techniques throughout the EP. For this reason it could be understandable to see the vaporwave tag being thrown on this project.

The exception to the downcast rule that this EP etches out is track two which feels far lighter and relaxed when compared to the other tracks, with chimes and guitars kicking things off and very satisfying synths and piano being layered in as the track progresses, creating a dreamy, almost psychedelic vibe. It makes for one of the highlights of the EP as the vast reverb cause the layers to swirl together like an ocean of sound, and is able to sound panoramic while operating off of a single basic chord progression. And that is one of the major strengths that the rest of the EP exhibits: the ability to take one or two key chord sequences or motifs per track and to unpack them without making them overstay their welcome.

Track three is the only unfortunate instance where this isn’t achieved, with the skeletal drum beat which takes up the majority of the song’s run time ending up feeling very stale very quickly. And this is a shame considering the track’s hopeful beginning with an interesting reversed vocal snippet, and if that avenue had been explored more or if it even had a stronger melodic backbone, this track would have felt a lot more developed.

The only other gripe I have is with the way the bass chokes the piano in track four, which would have been absolutely beautiful otherwise and is made that little shade more disappointing when considering the great care that is taken on the other tracks to let each instrumental layer breathe.

Even when taking these niggles into account, I would still recommend this EP if you’re looking for a relaxed and slightly different electronic music project. Although not quite consistent in production, it is consistently chilled, beautifully serene throughout and it is touched with that delicate air of sadness, all backed up with some strong driving beats. Be sure to download the EP from the Bandcamp link above and to explore the many other releases he has on offer. Support a great artist today.

Favourite tracks: track one, track two, track five.

Least favourite tracks: track three

7/10

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