thefacesblur, séance - elemental
After collaborating on managerial and audio/visual duties on the show series Ephemeral — which included acts such as Shiba San, Nora En Pure, and Paul Van Dyk — thefacesblur & Séance’s friendship burgeoned into a full-form collaboration. The “elemental” EP wasn’t just born of this collaboration, however; it took a lockdown, living in the same neighborhood, and COVID-borne exile from the scene they both loved for this EP to come to form. Having both established names for themselves in the Durham dance scene, (thefacesblur as a resident of iconic Durham party “The Floor,” and Séance as a founder of Maison Fauna and the “DECIDUUS” series), the two decided to remain under their original monikers — with the simple addition of an “and” — for their co-productions.
Inspired by its namesake — the elements — the elemental EP begins with tone-setting, lofi-house jam, “aqva.” With a punchy bass-line, atmospheric pads, and lush, processed vocals, “aqva” inspires the same relaxed, upbeat fluidity innate to water. Then, with “terra,” we pick up the pace. Stuttered, almost staccato-like instrumentals dance around a thumping kick and a shuffled snare. While an undeniable house-track, “terra” distinguishes itself in its hybridity, bringing in percussive elements typical of genres like techno and breakbeat that prepare us perfectly for “aer.” An all-out breakbeat banger with ambient elements, “aer” feels like a reimagined house track that’s indicative of music’s future and past. With a heaviness reminiscent of techno, “ignis” — quite like fire — is powerful and intense with a distinct warmth. With sparser vocals and a filtered, forward, almost unpredictable bass-line, the crisp, punchy drums of “ignis” ground the listener, propel them forward, and bring the EP to a close. Through distinct audio-visual cues, a true narrative of an EP comes to form as one listens to “elements.” It’s this fully-conceived narrative that pushes thefacesblur & séance’s debut EP from a collection of emotive, effective house gems to a cohesive, fully-formed work of artistry.