EP Review: Nil Elses — Quiet Invocations
Nil Elses's ambitious debut EP Quiet Invocations was recorded between Santiago in Chile and Seattle. The project that brings together cinematic soundscapes, dark techno grooves and downtempo influences took a year and a half to complete. And you can definitely hear it in the producer's attention to detail.

The EP opens with Two squares. Its rough and dry-sounding rhythmic backbone makes for an interesting contrast with atmospheric reverberated synth arpeggios and melodic textures. The track starts minimal but soon begins drifting into wall-of-sound territory, growing richer and adding layers.
Aria Variation adds human voices to the palette. Here they are reduced to a textural element that creates an otherworldly atmosphere, setting the mood for this meditative track. The drums here have a somewhat tribal feel that creates associations with dark and mysterious rituals.
Jema is driven by piano arpeggios that instantly bring to mind French minimalists. The rubbery bass and slow groove create a dark undercurrent for the piano phrases, creating a multilayered soundscape that grows more and more interesting with every listen.
Flying Melody is only 1:10 long, but, to my ears, it's one of the EP's standout tracks. Its sombre piano textures are dark and calming and build a perfect bridge between Jema's sonic complexity and the record's single Parallel.
Parallel takes some time to develop, but when it hits, it hits hard. Its misty and sultry textures perfectly convey the anxiety of someone seeing storm on the horizon and then slowly feeling its inevitable effects. Then the storm passes. And the last forty seconds of the track with their dramatic synths and layers of noise feel like the disaster's afterglow.
After this dramatic arc you can't help hearing the EP's closer Sun Effect as the sonic depiction of coming back to life after that devastating storm has passed. It sounds both sad and hopeful, again thanks to synth and noise textures, making perfect use of empty space, like Whistler's famous landscapes.
In his interview to Secret Eclectic Nil Elses spoke about his ambition to create music that blends experimental approach with danceable beats everybody can relate to, music that is able to sound powerful in very different settings. Quiet Invocations is the EP where hard work, unique artistic vision and a bit of magic successfully bring this idea to life.