I receive a lot of music to review. When it comes in, I burn it over into my computer and my phone, and it can often be quite literally months before I get around to listening to something for review. Meanwhile, it lives in my list of music and, as I often shuffle my playlists, I’ll hear things a number of times before that dedicated listen. Often, I’m happy to keep enjoying an album in the meantime because it’s just a good listen—as is the case with the duo Cravagoide’s Empty Frame. It’s not that the album is earth-shattering or overwhelmingly original, really. It’s just a solid batch of downtempo/glitch/lounge with a shot of IDM in the mix, whipped up into this laid-back, feel-pretty-good glide. And there’s ample variety to keep it interesting. The opener, “Vmap,” saunters in on a slow beat and quiet melody, gives you a few minutes of that to enjoy, then flicks a switch to shoot you into a higher gear. Thick lines of bass against shiny high tones make me love this section. (There’s an “oh, yeah” moment just after the four-minute mark.) “Try” wins me over with its sultry, slow beat, trippy drums and a distorted voice sample. This would be right at home among the stuff the 4AD and Waveform labels were dropping in the late 90s. “Lost Cable” is about as catchy as they come. More meaty bass goodness, a tight rhythm, and a subtle use of vocal drops make it irresistible. Members Marco Pizzamiglio and Pierpaolo Sala load it with layers of texture, and it feels like it keeps building—right up to a perfect drop-off ending. “Mosphere” is another attention-getter, slipping in on chime tones that feel like they’ve been just slightly truncated for a clipped sound that works well. Glitchy beats fold in, long, airy chords arrive, and all the sounds ping-pong around in your head.
Empty Frame has had me reaching to up the volume many, many times. I will keep this slotted into my mix library and let its cool vibes pop up and hit me with some happy now and then. There’s a lot to like on this release, and plenty of detail to listen for. Do check it out.
Available from Bandcamp.