Balam Acab – Club Water Discus
Genre – Electronic/Witch house
Balam Acab is a fairly mysterious American electronic artist, who concentrates on thoughtful textures rather than simple catchy beats, similar to the persuasions of Four Tet and Burial, and has been building a steady reputation for himself over recent years. On previous releases like the full-length album “Wander/Wonder” and EP “See Birds”, Balam Acab showcased his abilities of creating beautiful harmonies – so much so that a complimentary pillow wouldn’t have gone amiss – as the music just lullabies you into euphoric relaxation.
So with that context in mind, it’s unsurprising that fans of the artist have been waiting impatiently for a new release since 2011’s “Wander/Wonder”, even with several remixes appearing on his official soundcloud… and what a disappointment “Club Water Discus” is.
First off: he has apparently announced two things about this unofficial release, the first being that the free EP was a result of “spending many months alone in an underwater hotel room in Dubai” and that it is “non-indicative of sound of future official releases”. Hopefully the latter is true, and the former wasn’t as bad as it sounded.
Fairyland feels nothing more than a 12-year-old’s pride of producing a barely-even-mediocre track out of Finding Nemo soundboards and an entry-level Yamaha keyboard. It begins with the standard shining melodies you’d expect from Balam Acab, but it’s soon destroyed by one sample of a whispered “welcome” and another which can only be described as hands wrestling an eel or… something you don’t want to imagine. The track also tries to experiment with trap music with some pitch-shifted vocals (à la A$AP Rocky) and repetitive beats.
The following track, Look, is the mental breakdown of its predecessor – more incoherent samples, beats and effects that lead to nowhere and just sounds like Keisha murmuring to herself while slamming a sample pad at random. Dolphinstomp isn’t so clustered with atrocities, but having a simple beat with a dolphin squealing is hardly redeeming – especially when the simple beat gets replaced by a trap beat you might expect Lil B to rap over.
The last two tracks are basically soundbites, which in consideration to the rest of the EP, is a godsend. Wannaseeu lasts for 2.15 minutes and Dubai Siren is even shorter, and neither come close to saving the EP. Admittedly, Wannaseeu is probably the most sensible out of all the tracks, sounding like a fairly likeable mix of trap and witch house, but it’s average at best, and Dubai Siren is simply the sound of water dripping off the side of some fountain with string samples underneath.
If Balam Acab is even 10% serious about this release, then I am missing or not taking something to understand why this is even worth putting on the internet… even for free. This is, as mentioned earlier, the work of a 12-year-old… and while for that age “Club Water Discus” might show some future promise, Balam Acab is not a 12-year-old. Balam Acab was an adult in Dubai, the 22nd most expensive city in the world, during the making of the EP.
Let’s just be thankful he’s not following this direction in the future.
Favourite tracks: None. Nada.