‘A World Apart’, Soular Order‘s third EP, is a testament to DIY dance and electronic music. Jon Maynard (the man behind SO) writes and produces all of the music himself, for what seems little financial gain. His first two EPs, ‘Edge Of The Earth’ and ‘Ascent’, were released entirely for free as digital downloads, while this most recent effort allows the listener to choose how much they are willing to pay for the four tracks, ‘In Rainbows’-style. It’s an admirable strategy, and an effective way of getting his music out there to possible fans that may not have paid attention otherwise.
EP opener ‘Reach You’ is reminiscent of the sound Brendan Angelides achieves with Eskmo. There is the crisp production, the reptilian snare clicks, and sweeping marine vistas of effects, with everything sizzling at the top of the mix, while the bass swells beneath as a constant, reassuring presence. ‘One’ is an understated journey in atmospherics, with the fuzzy percussion keeping the pace, as a tower of synth is built up and up to its crescendo, which falls away wonderfully into a fading outro of echo and reverb. ‘Find Your Way’ is a crystalline experiment with vocal samples that give it a dubbier feel to the other tracks. A chilled tempo and sparse musical landscape really works in the songs favour, feeling distinctly un-cluttered and clean, the sound of Soular Order at its most refined.
A main factor in SO‘s music, and what will no doubt affect your enjoyment of this EP, is how easy it is to be taken in by its interesting mixes and sculpted aural scenes. It’s repetitive but intricate nature feels almost post-rock-esque in its sensibilities, but with the flesh of dance, electronic and dub on its bones. Final track ‘Wake Up’ brings all these elements together to great effect. With an opening swell that feels like emerging from a placid pool of water, its off-kilter groove and resigned keyboard riffs behind the core noise feel highly evocative and help make this the richest and deepest audio experience on the EP.
‘A World Apart’ is easy to recommend. The music is absorbing and involving, while the work ethic of the artist behind it is genuinely commendable. If you are even casually interested in atmospheric dance and dub, this EP is definitely worth a listen.
Written by Grant Bailey