It's 2016 and Travis Stewart can do nothing but win.
All the way back in May, a little duo known as Sepalcure dropped their first full-length album in five years. It was perfectly timed. The duo are an absolutely powerhouse of mid-tempo ambience and rhythm that straddles the lines between deep house and ambient. Then they dump a ton of catchy pop over the top.
The point: Praveen Sharma and Travis Stewart returned as an electronic force as if they didn't halt releases for four years.
The other point: Travis Stewart wasn't finished with 2016.
At the very end of September, Stewart, under his long-running moniker Machinedrum, released his first true album is almost as many years since we last heard from Sepalcure. The win: this album is everything that Sepalcure had to offer, just torn into pieces and slammed together again at a much higher tempo.
Like most electronic artists who have a career that spans roughly a decade, their is progression and change. You aren't getting the same recycled sound that Machinedrum had in 2007 or earlier or later. There is progression, there is something fresh.
What makes this album so powerful is that it leaves you breathless, skipping from one burst of beats to another, slowing for moments, only to set you up for the next wave of glitch-centric goodness. The album is so satisfying because it doesn't sacrifice tempo to achieve a hook or melody, but it doesn't overwhelm you with an endlessly driving rhythm that thuds in your brain until you feel nothing but the pulse of bass.
Stewart, and Sharma, have found the perfect mix of intelligent, catchy electronic music in 2016. Sepalcure is here to help you find your rhythm and go deep, Machinedrum fires you up with frenetic pace and pop. Electronic music is better for having both. And "Do It 4 U" featuring Dawn, might be the best song I've heard all year. Write that down.
by Daniel Coughlin (@xvanwilderx)