Elika: S/T (Thisquietarmy Records, 2006)
Elika is the third offering from Thisquietarmy Records. A male/female duo hailing from Brooklyn, they are another group re-defining the new-gaze genre. With Evagelia Mazavelias and Brian Wencheback at the helm, this synth-gaze disc is amazing, subtle, and breathtaking. Nine songs that are brief, yet perfectly timed, Elika has crafted a unique and gorgeous disc.
“Elliptical White Tablet” begins with keys that are spacey and dense. Warbles and blurps fill float between the see of keys as sounds bounce from speaker to speaker. This short, introductory track, clocking in at 1:58 and is an inviting intro. “Fire” begins with more electronic feeling blips and starts. Glittery guitar comes into the mix and an angelic voice fills the void between electronic beats and more organic bliss. This moves into a shoegaze feel that is layered and wispy. The melody is catchy and the beat infectious. “You’re Not Safe at All” begins with a medium tempo beat and glittery, sparse guitar. Evagelia’s voice is hypnotic, ethereal, and gorgeous. In the midst of the tune, fuzzed out walls of sound explode through the speakers as layers contribute to the feel of the tune. The rest of the instruments give way to a funky trip-hop beat that is punctuated with a fuzzed out keyboard and Evagelia’s haunting vocals.
“Siesta” has a beautiful ambient wall of sound that floats between the speakers and is quite soothing, as the title suggests. Impressive in its beauty, I would love to hear a full length of these sorts of compositions by Elika. It is patient and focus while being ethereal, soothing, and deep. “Building Around It” has shimmering guitar and a faint beat that thumps as Evagelia croons on the sea of soundscapes. A mechanical beat fills the chorus as melancholy lyrics soar. This leads to “We Stay the Same.” Wave like synths go from speaker to speak and then fade. Acoustic guitar then comes into the mix over light drones. The vocals are patient and longing. This turns into a trip hop, chaotic beats under the chorus. The movement from one style to the others is amazingly perfect. Elika know their craft an use it to its fullest effect.
“Employment” has an ominous tone with a mechanical feel and guitars humming in the spaces of sound. A trip-hop beat plays amongst the other noises and gives way again to the grumblings of the mechanical choir. Spacey keys come into the mix along with the beats again and all the pieces layer upon one another. This leads into “Farewell.” A lighthearted synth piece, this is a perfect conclusion to this disc. Mid-tempo and punctuated with snare and acoustic guitar while space sounds float by here and there, Elika leave the listener with wanting more. Hopefully, this brief disc will translate into a later, much longer full-length and then, perhaps, Elika will tour the world and let all who have ears to hear, will hear the excellence and creativity that is Elika.