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It is increasingly rare these days for budding electronic producers to put out full length records, but as a result it has become just that much more sensational when such an undertaking occurs. Gold Coast-producer Paces, known also as Mike Perry, has just dropped his debut album; a thirteen track LP titled Vacation.
The album features eleven previously unheard new originals, plus 2015 hit single Nothing’s Forever featuring the irrepressible Kucka and finally recent release 1993 (No Chill) featuring Jess Kent. The collabs don’t stop there though, with the album containing no less than twelve different vocalists and collaborators.
By including such a plethora of artists, Paces is able to explore his ethereal and shimmering production style through the lens of a huge variety of vocal styles, and to largely avoid the hazards of too much similarity that frequently plagues similar artists when they put together full length albums. He also creates tremendous diversity through his exploration of melodic space and varying use of texture and layers of sound within one genre.
In fact it is only the opening track God Mode that is purely instrumental. The rest of the record explores a range of styles that all still fit in within the glitteringly melodic soundscape that Paces has made his own with the limited amount of originals and remixes he has released over the past couple of years.
Tropical, up-beat vibes shine on a number of tracks including Loop featuring Kenzie May which makes the absolute most of tinkling percussive sounds to establish a summery dance mood.
Playback features the melody-defining vocals of Reija Lee, and successfully utilises a similarly sparse texture in order to allow each layer of sound to be explored in depth.
Paces also shows his mastery of creating much more densely layered texture in tracks like Until (with Aubergine Machine) whose chorus is thick with dense layers of synth sitting beautifully underneath countermelodies between echoic vocals and altered synthetic sounds. Dense melodic layering is also evident in the collaboration with Esther Sparkles called Sometimes, which despite featuring several competing melodic lines at no point sounds cluttered.
By featuring rapping vocalists Paces is able to expand his sound even further, and tracks like Work Me featuring Rye Rye inevitably have a driving tempo and as a result a higher overall intensity over his more chiller tracks of which there are several. Oliver Tank is well known for his soft, earthy vocal style, and his vocals are featured on one of the more melancholy tracks of the whole record which aptly is titled Blue.
It would definitely be possible to listen to Vacation with pre-conceptions leaving you at the conclusion that Paces hasn’t created something that is explorative enough to justify a 13-track LP, but you’d be missing the point.
Vacation uses texture and space, as well as an impressive variety of vocalists to explore the subtleties of a style of electronic music that Paces is becoming aurally synonymous with. This record was clearly a huge undertaking, and it is a bold statement by an artist who it is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore.