Sounds of an Alien Tongue
Language is the latest EP from the Los Angeles based musician and producer Eskmo, who seems to pride himself on his unique ability to avoid classifications and pigeon holes. Eskmo has been producing and releasing tracks since the late ’90s, building his repertoire by incorporating influences as varied as hip-hop, glitchy electro-pop, and modern dubstep, blurring these diverse genres into a sound all his own.
The latest release from this musical surgeon is short-lived and somewhat unusual, to say the least. The opening song, “1996” entices the listener with hypnotic melodies that sound almost familiar before breaking into an almost dance-friendly beat so stilted that it seems to limp through its entirety with all the confidence of a professional one legged dancer. Students of time signature will certainly have a ball here, but it’s tough to tell whether the casual listener will find this kind of composition catchy or off-putting.
An eerie feeling of semi-familiarity pervades this record, drifting between the poles of conventional dance hall jams and trip-hop laced with distorted robotic influences of R&B and scary movie suspense. What amounts from this strange sphere of influence is a collection of music that is not quite dance, not quite ambient, and not quite trance, while incorporating elements of all these things to synthesize something completely foreign, exotic, and almost alien. The penultimate track of the EP, “Soul Music,” captures the essence of this musical avalanche, building up into a disquieting crescendo before cutting off abru–
just like that.
Eskmo clearly knows what he’s doing as a musician and producer, but the question here is whether the listeners will catch on to the uniqueness or be turned away by the weirdness. Language encompasses in a few minutes what many other records can’t reach in hours of exploration. The melodies are at times uncomfortable, and the ghastly misshapen vocals often range from outlandish to troublesome, but the music itself does exactly what it means to do.
Language is not a record that will make you dance passionately, make you think deeply, or make you object violently–rather it will blur all these reactions into one, forming a single note that crosses borders all over the map. Language will take you places, if you let it lead the way.