ELOS ‘Kid Him’ Alpha Pup Records | Album Review

“The discovery of a new direction through a sci-fi tale of loss and isolation. Our captain finds his outer-dimensional vessel shipwrecked, creating a new home in a cave near the crash site…” – ELOS

ELOS has become one of the more prominent artists on the Alpha Pup roster in the 2010’s, releasing a full length in Scenes of Life / Electricity along with being included on the first official TeamSupreme compilation that was also released with Alpha Pup. Describing his approach to electronic production music is a task all on its own as many tracks are bundled into various pockets of where the genre is splitting off at the moment. An essence of the scf-fi and abstract always manages to find an element or take over the entire feeling of the track. The other moments are reserved for a much more earth bound sound with vintage synths flying at you every second. ELOS has been working non stop on the follow up to his debut with Alpha Pup, serving up the full length Kid Him last month with a large support system by critics and fans all over the world. Thirteen tracks of prophetic beat work that is concept driven towards a specific story where a captain finds himself on an unknown planet. Survival is the only option left and is found from a cave near the crash site. Isolation is the theme of the main characters existence and is an extension of the type of tones found on the album. Layers drift out of the mix with a sense of freedom underutilized in the genre today and a minimalism in layering allows every track to really breath. With his first record on Alpha Pup, bass levels and saturation were pushed to extremes. Kid Him has a much more diverse array of color tones than his first and the dynamic shifts are much more subdued and restrained. What’s intact is a full statement front to back that plays as the sonic remnants of a man in isolation who is trying to reclaim a sense of mental security in his new setting. Themes of his past as a child surface as these are the moments when we are truly in love with large stretches of isolation.

Outside of the concept of the album, Kid Him has a really pleasing and gentle flow. Synth layers still retain that massive size in the grid that Cosmic Zoo recordings have but the energy is really relegated down a notch. Every synth is allowed to flow endlessly inside of the mix from this type of approach. Some of the more simplistic lines shine more from color and tonality than they do technicality, something that has been true to a lot of the beat scene. The soul behind each note is what really centers me into place and has me loving every sound, something you don’t find all too often with this movement. The albums totality is felt well, especially with the concept in mind, the artwork in place and the team that has helped to promote it. Looking at some of the best moments in this experience, there are a handful of tracks that have really stood out. Bringing back the legendary Zackey Force Funk from collaboration that took place on Scenes of Life / Electricy, ELOS called upon his vocal talents for the third track of the album, “Wayward We Go.” The aura is smooth and the synths are glistening, wavering with some of the most sublime vocal layering. Once the drums and bass lock in, the track really glows with a special vibe. All of the intricate synth and vocal layering is incredible and is testament to how well the two have remained to work together. “Glass Legos” is another track from Kid Him that hit me on first contact. The rhythm is slow burning and infectious while the overtones of rustic synth breath like the tonality of Boards of Canada. It’s a mind bender and morphs in all different shapes and sizes over the course of the song. The final sci-fi driven synth layer that meshes into the fabric of the beat once the drums cut out is the icing on the cake.

“3AM” has been another pleasing number from the LP, blasting into the beat with vintage synthesizers and rugged bass work. The drums are very minimal and perfectly so with the type of room the synths and bass take up and rightfully need. This has the power of elephants running, complete with enough sonic imagery and color to bring down some of these levels of power. The core sounds like it is burning from within with the type of texture, similar to that of “Glass Legos.” I love this type of sound and am really happy that ELOS has continued to explore this area of electronica with Kid Him. The last two pieces on the album really wrap the album up on a special note and are also very noteworthy to me. Beginning with the hypnotic and head nodding “Cave Theme,” a slow burning process and unraveling of layer upon layer evolves over every few measures. B-boy music for the cosmic outsider worlds of the next dimension and the aliens that exist there, this is the track that really sets me into a different place all together. Closing piece “Topdown” also has one of the deepest vibes of the record, lifting the albums aura into another ancient grid of influence that is shot into the future with various production techniques. A heavy influence to the east arises on many scales and the type of inspiration that is felt after the 1:25 mark is life changing. This is the song I have played the most on repeat and really defines why this album resonates at a much different frequency than any other production based music right now. Ancient tones injected into the fabric of the beat movement.

Kid Him is a highly emotional album that takes a lot of processing to really absorb. Small subtle sounds can exist for only three seconds but can shift the meaning of the entire track for every measure that exists after it. It’s these small subtle pitch shifts and tonality fluctuations that makes Kid Him such a hard record to diagnose but such an easy one to love after that connectivity bridges in the emotional form. This is entirely new life for the current beat movement and has been released on one of the leading labels in the genre. It doesn’t get much better as far as presentation, mastering and content goes. Kid Him isn’t for everyone but for the initiated, this record is everything.

-Erik Otis

Order information on various online retailers can be found here.

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