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There’s so much excellent electronica coming out of Australia right now, it can be hard to dissect the scene to find something you really like. Once in a while an artist jumps out from the crowd, bringing a unique style or just a damn good sound to the market. Jordan White, or Braille Face as he’s known, is one such artist.
The solo producer drops his debut Koya on August 31st off the back of an extremely ambitious and innovative 2015, when he set out to record and release an album every month for an entire year. Fellow producer Tim Shiel stumbled upon this enterprise and connected with White to polish the most promising recordings into the album we hear today.
With his debut album Koya, Braille Face injects very real emotions into otherworldly soundscapes to create a self-contained gem of modern electronica.
What we get is a very diverse collection of moody ambience combined with a powerful but understated vocal performance to create an album that is undenably wintry in tone. There’s a self-contained feel to the atmospheric songs we hear on Koya; they undulate across a soundscape that feels new and different to us, creating an almost timeless effect.
The tracks don’t seem to possess formulaic progressions or any linear blueprint but rather they encircle the listener, offering many tendrils to follow. White’s voice is apparently inseparable to the fabric of the songs, floating through all the layers, delivering itself in a high-ish pitch that prohibits the album from complete sunset.
It’s a voice that can really bring the feels to life, similar to that of Tom Iansek, who we know from Big Scary. Nevertheless, Koya is a dim and, at times, chilly album, but ultimately one of beauty, making good on the emotional possibilities the song titles promise.
Good music is almost always specific. It makes you think of specific things, and feel specific emotions. Of course, the third aspect of it is that it just sounds good. Braille Face succeeds on all three fronts. His music puts images in your head, each track a different picture and the moody pacing leads us down a few different paths emotionally.
Koya envisions rocky outcrops, wildlife, rolling seas, cold empty rooms, frost, a man driving alone, walking at dusk, the list goes on. It’s a testament to the sounds Jordan compiles into his songs, and the emotions that go with such imagery range from nostalgia, to oppression, to loss, to isolation.
It’s hard to pick out highlights in such a fluid album, this record will envelop you past the point of realising where each song starts or finishes. In saying that, the lively beats of Glow and Bristlecone Pine are particularly nice, slightly offsetting the deeper connotations of the vocals. On the other side of the equation, Because and Daniel really drive home the emotional discussion.
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These four tracks are the best representation of the major strengths of Koya, but it’s not a record to pick and choose from. It’s greatest success comes from every piece contributing to the structure, and what’s impressive is the overall melding of the tracks, despite the fact Oscillations drags us out the reverie somewhat. For some, it will be a welcome refresher; for others an irritating distraction.
As we know, Braille Face seems to lack no inspiration. It has allowed him to craft a superbly mesmerising debut. Koya is a distinctly interesting piece of electronic composing that feels like a slightly desolated planet, but not one completely devoid of life and beauty. Within the alternative electronic genre, it’s certainly one to grab hold of, and cements Braille Face as an artist to follow closely.
He will be up at BIGSOUND in a few weeks time, so be sure to drop in to his set if you’re there.