• Fri, Nov 15, 2019
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The New Ago EP Is Minimal In Flair But Has Quiet Character

Apr 18, 05:41pm

‘Digital Muse’ takes no risks and has no flashy stuff, but is a solid release
 Photo Courtesy: Ago

Ago is an artist from Kerala who has been dropping music under this name for a little while now. He falls squarely under the umbrella of singer-songwriter and indie on his new EP ‘Digital Muse’, but choose to support that often thin songwriting palate with some piano and other textural flourishes. But there are moments where they accept that the three songs on here deserve more fleshing out and has no hesitation to do exactly that. Which is a good thing, because they manage push this release over the edge of background music to something that can potentially grab your attention.

 

 


There’s not much to say on the production front except that it’s punchy, clean and mostly sterile. There aren’t any crazy sounds and tonal experiments here that will pique your interest, but that’s not a bad thing by any means. Except for the fact that the rhythm section sounds a little too clean on the title track, everything else has nothing to complain about. The warm guitars throughout are a lot of fun to swim around in, and the vocals are soaked in reverb and sound pretty great, if a bit distant. But the three songs on ‘Digital Muse’ do a pretty good job of justifying these sonic choices; they’re not very positive uplifting tunes, and that’s by design. Opener ‘Strands Of Blue' is by far the best track on the album and has most of the standout moments of the whole release; the desolate acoustic guitar and vocals that start the track best capture the bittersweet, dark but cathartic vibe Ago is going for. Throw in a great hook and an awesome change-up in the latter third of the track and you have a winner. The jazzy ending to the song is a great touch too. The title track of the EP is much more straightforward and safe; the same clean sonic approach doesn’t work as well in this setting. The slow, moody blues presented here is prone to become a little stale with repeated listens, but the throwback solo and ending of the song (that uses layered guitars and some very nice vocal harmonies) save it from that. Closer ‘Missing Machine’ has a much more energetic and heavy tone to it, with some proper distorted guitars and some orchestral stuff thrown into the mix. It doesn’t have that standout melodic core that ‘Strands Of Blue’ but it tries to inject some Nothing But Thieves-like operatic and dramatic energy into the last five minutes of the release.

 


‘Digital Muse’ isn’t doing anything cutting-edge or reimagining genre and sound, but it’s a solid effort and has enough decent songwriting to merit plays. Even though the songs as complete entities aren’t the most memorable, they have interesting touches and details to them that keep them stuck in one’s head without overpowering the release as a whole. Not everything needs to be crazy and dominate your attention; this is a good example of it.

 

Listen to the Digital Muse

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