swimteam - Street Eater
Record Label: Hi-Scores Recording Library
Release Date: October 5, 2010
Hi-Scores Recording Library’s eclectic duo swimteam has had a knack for impressing the blogosphere not only for their age (both members Aidan Hair and Michael Marais are in their late teens), but more so for their innovative take on electronic music. Unsurprisingly, swimteam broadens their spectrum of influences from last year’s debut album Harlem to create the 45-minute trek that is Street Eater. Drawing mainly from influences like Flying Lotus, Portishead, and various hip-hop artists, swimteam embrace every ounce of musical knowledge and integrity that they have and run with it head-on.
Street Eater, swimteam's second full length and third official release, begins with a hypnotist encouraging the listener to “commit to this moment in time.” Acting as the most appropriate introduction for an album enveloped by trippy electronic beats and an overall mesmerizing atmosphere, the invitation acts as more of a warning: prepare to be fully immersed into a sea of multiple layers and rich textures. If not, you’re going to be dragged in by whatever creatures coexist down below with swimteam’s musical wanderlust.
Their stylistic change from Harlem is apparent as illustrious guitars start to layer over electronic beats in “SuperWhy?” After dipping your foot in, ripples of sound become immensely cohesive and tight that you can imagine being pleasantly sucked into a euphoria-filled hypnotic trance. However, Street Eater is more than just an electronic array of noise; it’s intelligent, sensible, and moody. Watch and be stunned as lead single “Doppelgänger” displays ridiculous toe-tapping pop sensibility and acts as a natural leader in comparison to recent unconventional-dance-music contemporaries whilst sitting aside calming aphex twin-esque ambience in “You Will Burst.” Stand amazed as sultry guitar riffs and hazy vocals create the perfect electronic stoner track “Know It” but also act as an accomplished lead-in to a reading of the Beat poem “Ode to Coit Tower” in “King I (Vegas).” From the outset, Street Eater is a beautiful sight on account of how every instrument effectively interlocks and folds into one another.
Even more amusing is swimteam’s uncanny ability to invoke mood through music. Fully displayed in the dead center of Street Eater, “Oakie Boogie” perfectly arranges guitars and drums to create a chill-out atmosphere that drips bittersweet nostalgia. Halfway through the song, harsh guitars and electronic undertones transport you to distant memories to stand face-to-face with your mistakes. Lyrics begin to resonate in your head: “I have created/every one of your bones/to be light in you” and before you know it, you’re on the most appropriately-titled tracks “Cold Heart Private Eye” and “Night Tripping (The Suburban Summer).” Music becomes the medium in which swimteam displays emotion and imagery alongside their ambiguously interesting lyrics.
Basically taking everything from their musical palette, Street Eater finds swimteam finding their niche in the musical world in unadulterated fashion. Specific attention to detail leads to rewarding repeat-listens and the cohesive structure and overall flow of the album is incredibly pleasant. Even primary singer Hair sounds better than ever and his vocals are strikingly effecting in every song. Street Eater may seem like an enormous departure from their debut Harlem and their Treebeard EP, but at heart, it’s the same ole’ swimteam. Proof? Street Eater ends on a track that’s most reminiscent of previous works; this tells listeners one thing: swimteam bravely shook their etch-a-sketch and were ready to make new and improved art to be proud of.