ATTLAS invites listeners to frolic under his ‘Charcoal Halo’ [Review]
ATTLAS has been demonstrating he has all the makings of a mau5trap luminary since his exquisitely executed debut EP of 2015, Siren, on deadmau5‘s auspicious label housing. Now, a handful of emotionally saturated, atmospheric house projects later, he’s resolved to lay 2018 to rest, adorned in a six-piece Charcoal Halo.
Charcoal Halo is, according to ATTLAS himself, a pensive, deliberate product of long-winded introspection, an emancipation from the confines of screen-induced slavery. Designed for purposeful listening, the project acts, throughout its duration, as a blissful rendezvous point between the narrator’s complex inner life and a heavenly body of newly discovered surroundings.
“Unsurprisingly, the themes, sounds, melodies, and even titles on the final project lean into that push-pull… that, creatively, was about experience and reflection,” ATTLAS says. “Too much experience lacked the patience to learn from it, and too much reflection lacked anchor points of living and story.”
Indeed, there is much to infer from the EP’s eponymous titles. “Water for the Trees,” emphatically exemplifies this notion, with its pastoral and tender piano melodies and synth trickles, which fall like happy rain. ATTLAS’s adept piano playing flows decidedly through the project like a life-giving stream. His kaleidoscopic emotional palette is palpable as ever, as the listener is greeted with the poignant, slow-motion breakbeat of “Coldest Night,” splendidly rendered with melancholic vigor on behalf of 7Chariot (the solitary feature on the EP); but “Cyprus Lake” soon takes hold, with its untethered optimism and vapory synth blasts, falling and crashing, only to take shape again, like a liquid dream one should dance to.
ATTLAS’s Charcoal Halo brings a quixotic splendor to modern, atmospheric house music/electronica. Timeless elements, like the worldly choral emissions of “Fine Modern Structures,” or the winding and furrowing instrumentals of the title track, run abound, allowing the work to eclipse any particular epochal timestamp. Underneath the Charcoal Halo, one can expect, if nothing else, a momentary reconciliation of Yin and Yang.