Recently, electronic producer Bryan Muller released his new album, “Compro.” The album begins with a wash — falling in figure with the album’s blizzard cover art — on the first track, “Cerroverb.” Tape feedback and reverb fill the three-syllable track, alongside tense ambient buildups, some so captivating that the Friday night that was supposed to be spent listening to this turned into a meditative experience to see what came next.
The transition into “Session Add” takes time, but by stealing the show from the minimally serene first half, the second perhaps would remind one of the ambient techno songs that Scottish duo Boards of Canada were creating in the ’90s.
“Rev8617” amps the tempo from the second track, with “50 Euro to Break Boost” continuing the album’s speed right where the last started. The album truly doesn’t slow down until eight songs in, all the while keeping a cool dream-like orb of snow that creates a thick, weighted ambiance through the atmosphere of the tracks.
These five songs stretch until the eighth track, “Vli,” which contains an awesome techno sound collage of wistful ice-drenched wastelands on an empty midnight club floor. Using elements of footwork, microhouse and a mix of jungle/breakbeat, Skee Mask wanders into conceptually unmarked territory in the music scene.
Although at times the album could be described as “outsider house,” — a slower, lo-fi electronic genre featuring key artists like “Ross From Friends” or “DJ Seinfeld” — the 2018 album shows a promisingly unique sound for the artist whose label Ilian Tape describes his sounds as “rolling rhythms combined with electronic soundscapes.” Müller’s nature is more directed toward the strobing nightclubs of days past, rather than the huge, sun-bleached soundstages that encapsulate much of the Western electro scene.
The last two tracks on “Compro” are some of the most exceedingly eclectic. Penultimate track “Kozmic Flush” combines g-forced stressed drum breaks with Roland 303 acid sounds and intimate vaporwave DJ work. The album would be fine to have ended there, yet “Calimance (Delay Mix)” is just as worthy of a contender.
As the last beams of arctic sunshine caress the frosted crystal tundra, night falls and as does the album itself. After ending on the energy of “Kozmic Flush,”the following song has a real feel of tranquility to it, one less of a dance floor, but of one that is accepting of the absence of the dance floor.
Being a contender for the left-field, underground electronic album of the year, the project has received acclaim from the field’s respected artists, such as Four Tet, Telefon Tel Aviv and Modeselektor. What the Seattle radio giant KEXP, the electronic magazine Resident Advisor and a Northwestern sultry-like reviewer that favors well produced escapism albums like Skee Mask’s “Compro” all have in common is a keen ear for a both new sounding and old sounding, time-slipping electronic album in 2018.