SummaryWelcome, Ninja Tune's latest signing: the one and only Eskmo, AKA Brendan Angelides, a native of Connecticut now based in San Francisco. Widely heralded within the community as one of the most original of a new wave of electronica artists, his eponymous debut album for Ninja Tune finally offers Eskmo a canvas broad enough to create his first masterpiece. Embracing and exploring glitch, dubstep and R'n'B, and layering his own ethereal vocals into the dreamy mix, it's a fine showcase for everything that has made Eskmo such a whispered-about talent.
Angelides has been making tracks as Eskmo since 1999, recording a series of tracks and remixes for labels like Planet Mu and Warp in recent years, and releasing two acclaimed singles, 'Hypercolor' and 'Angus Dei', on his own Ancestor imprint in 2009. Eskmo's won the patronage of fellow Ninja-artist, the legendary Amon Tobin, with whom he's collaborated as Eskamon, while Flying Lotus hand-picked this kindred spirit to play his Brainfeeder Sessions. Via these channels, he was discovered by Ninja Tune, who swiftly invited Eskmo to join their hallowed ranks, and release a debut album.
For this album, Eskmo has abandoned the strictures of making tracks for the dancefloor and the strictures of the 12" single format, and followed his visionary muse. "Before Warp and Planet Mu I kind of fell into the game of making tracks to get released on smaller dance labels, having to cater to 'dance' formulas," he explains. "Over this past couple of years, I feel I've let go of that, and am just writing the songs I want to write. I got back to what excited me about making electronic music when I started out, creating these little universes with sound and writing songs."
The album was, he says, written over a six month stretch "in the middle of a whole bunch of personal relationship-type stuff, a lot of deep life-experience type stuff happening that helped the music just bleed out of me. I just poured all those feelings into the music, it's very cathartic. I allowed myself to let go of DJ structure - it's not a 'dance club' album, because that kind of stuff hasn't inspired me in years. This is the first full body of work where I'm singing all over it, and allowing myself to get over that furlough of expression has been really liberating."
The first release on the label following Ninja Tune's 20th Anniversary box set signals a brave new chapter for this artist, and for electronica itself. Dreamy, haunting, full of ghostly funk and inventive sonics, Eskmo serves up electronica with a most human heart.