Saturday, 24 February 2018

EP Review | Zapatilla | Crumbling Down / Thumb Piano (2018)

image credit: zapatilla
A generously expansive debut EP, Zapatilla traverses the ambient spectrum with two advantageously long tracks: ‘Crumbling Down’ and ‘Thumb Piano’.

Zapatilla fully utilizes an array of influences and a deep skill set to produce a foundation for a successful emergence into the 2018 music scene, complete with eclectic melancholy and a unique compositional tone regarding instrumentation in both songs.

This is explored immensely in the first two minutes of ‘Crumbling Down’. An introduction laden with multiple, mismatched beats almost feels like it shouldn’t work. The combination of beats sound as though they are competing rather than meshing; it isn’t until the multitude of beats are introduced and are stacked on one another that it forms a cohesive foundation for the rest of the track that ‘Crumbling Down’ begins to fully blossom.

At just over seven minutes long, ‘Crumbling Down’ is a fascinating, synthesized opus for Zapatilla to introduce this EP with. It almost carries its own narrative, split into three acts across the spread of the composition that ultimately traverses a forlorn outlook at something – life, love, emotion – falling apart, as the vocal line so simply suggests three-minutes into the track: ‘As it all starts crumbling down.’ The beat takes the backseat here, propelling an impressive concoction of strings and an empowering vocal melody that is eventually taken over by an electronic signal and synthesized bass hook; ending the same way that it began.

The EP then takes a 180 on ‘Thumb Piano’, shifting to a wistful exploration of an ambient, chill-out soundscape that evokes 90s Moby-esque aesthetics with a tonal ambivalence provided by soothing sound patterns and a piano melody that is regularly emulated through a synthesizer. There is an obvious emphasis on tone and atmosphere in this track compared to the focus on the beats provided in ‘Crumbling Down’; ‘Thumb Piano’ seems to portray itself in a calmer light, with a slight twinge of melancholy channelled over from the previous track as the hook is played in a higher, softer range.

‘Thumb Piano’ connotes a strange happiness through an emphasis on tonal range, with its soft beat and burgeoning bass line that carries the synth when it is first introduced. The track may be vocal-less, but the melody provided by the piano does more than enough to carry the sentiment of melancholia to pensive joy that Zapatilla enforces through the pairing of the two tracks on the EP.

From only two songs on one debut EP, Zapatilla is certainly one to watch this year. 


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