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DMNW reviews KOAN Sound’s atmospheric new ‘Intervals Above’ EP

KOAN Sound
Photo: Sarah Koury / KoLAB Studios

The long-awaited EP Intervals Above from electronic duo KOAN Sound is finally here! Coming in at an easy 27 minutes, Intervals Above is a five-track EP that capitalizes on the duo’s signature sound and ethos.

Before the release, Will Weeks and Jim Bastow of KOAN Sound hosted a Reddit AMA with Haywyre, in which the duo revealed that they began working on Intervals Above just after the release of their debut full-length album Polychrome. With everything they’d learned with Polychrome, the duo couldn’t wait to showcase their new production skills in a completely separate body of work. With that being said, we’re excited to share our thoughts on Intervals Above!

Now for the music

Weeks and Bastow exemplify their fascination with lights and colors on Intervals Above with track titles like Strident, Boundless, Radiant, Vibrant, and Vivid. Each adjective hints at the holistic nature of the EP. It’s like each song and its corresponding title is an attempt at evoking the colorful motif of the EP as a whole.

Fans of KOAN Sound’s past work will feel at home with Intervals Above. Their use of uniquely crafted percussive notes, visceral ambient noises, funky basslines, atmospheric guitars, and Eastern instruments are elements that you can find in all of their past music. But from that familiarity, the duo is still able to push the boundaries of their own production. It’s not enough to listen to this EP just once, or even twice for that matter. Each listen reveals a new melodic pattern to follow or a surprising sound effect that wasn’t caught the first time.

The opening song is one that we talked about upon its release. Strident takes on a Wild West meets psychedelic funk vibe, and it works so well. We are subjected to some insane sound design as the song slows down past the three-minute mark. The duo is somehow able to make the bass sound like a sonic force crushing rocks. Or maybe it sounds more like a liquid splash. Either way, it goes to show how Weeks and Bastow are able to design textures that sound natural and multi-faceted.

One of the more striking songs on the EP is Radiant. It immediately catches our attention within the first minute as it jumps into a jittery succession of percussion and guitar rhythms. Radiant is probably the one we’re most excited to hear live. The second half of the song features some seriously interesting sound design that, for us, conjures imagery of electricity flittering out of KOAN Sound’s drum pads; the same drum pads that they like to play during their live shows.

Hear it live!

Intervals Above released just in time. KOAN Sound’s co-headlining tour In Parallel with Haywyre is coming to Portland on the 12th! Vancouver and Seattle will see the show on the 14th and 21st respectively. Tickets are still available on the official tour website. In the meantime, stream all of Intervals Above… below (heh):

What did you think of Intervals Above? Will we see any of you at one of the Pacific Northwest stops of the tour? Let us know in our comments section on Facebook and Twitter!

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