Rivka | Faded EP
Sounds like Rivka might have something to say about the best EP of 2013. The Pittsburgh-based electronic duo of Reggie Wilkins and Rivka Rose have a new EP, “Faded”, out now. It features six dark and compressed tracks, filled with glitches, dub, dirty beats, dreampop vapors, minimalist percussion, all enveloped in a sauntering style thick as smoke haze. The record starts with the airily-named “Drift”, a song opening with a galloping clatter and a whistled tune, like the soundtrack to some weirdo cinematic futuristic tale of android love meets Western bravado. From there the track gets dark and sexy, with overlapping, distorted twee female vocals blending into warped synth, an ethereal racket of sounds, and snippets of phrases (some unintelligible, but pretty and emotive) that hit perfectly at each tempo stutter or heavy bass beat. Early in the track, the music stops for a second, punctuated by the word “goddamn”, as if the twosome can’t even imagine just how good the groove is. “Gone” builds on the opening track — slowing things down even more by adding echoing vocal aquatics, golden synth tones, and raw industrial percussion that turns the atmosphere into a kind of low sensual simmer. The song is lithe and lingering, as the whole EP is, really finding itself in the beautiful viscous drip of “Swim High” and the wonderful opening bass thump of “Better Days”. The latter is a strangely alluring combination of rhythms, bird whistles, musical transitions, blipped-out vocal samples, and opaque catch-phrases like: “I’ve seen better days / But it’s good to know you.” This record feels more concerned with inspiring a visceral response than a contemplative one, which is the nature of music that leans more toward the instrumental than the lyrical. I could hear a little Massive Attack in “Reggie Days” and its repeating drum, but it’s not as strong as the rest of the tracks. But as a whole, this is a stunning record. You can follow Rivka at facebook and twitter. — David D. Robbins Jr.