Maximalism. We’ve all heard of its counterpoint, minimalism. So it doesn’t take much working out to get to the crux of this blossoming sub-genre: stuff, and lots of it. Maximalism tracks are thickly layered with sonic swirls and surreal synths and propelled directly into your eardrums. It’s pretty intense.
At the forefront of this sound is Bobby Tank, a London based producer with an ear for nostalgia and, if his new EP’s anything to go by, an ear for a tune, too. Afterburn EP was released on June 4 through MofoHiFi Records, and is an absolute gem of a record – albeit one that could possibly do with a polish.
The EP kicks off with aplomb – title track Afterburn is a relentless barrage of multi-layered ‘80s synths and choppy vocals, topped off with a vintage-stylee guitar solo. Nostalgia is something so entrenched within this record – Tank labels ‘80s boogie as an influence on his Facebook page – and it certainly feels like a throwback. But that’s not all it is – there’s a melody to it, a melody that suggests that this vast mess of sound is far from thrown together; rather, it’s very well produced. In fact, the whole EP is this weird collage of sound that, on paper, should be overwhelmingly and uncomfortably in your face, yet in reality it’s nothing of the sort. Instead it’s more like rain than hail – still intense, but not as painful as it could have been.
However, it’s actually the production that creates the main issue with the album, as there are many occasions when the tracks seem to blend together into one big lump of noise – it’s certainly a repetitive EP. As many tracks blend together, the record becomes a bit bogged down with reiteration as it goes on, but when the music is so meticulously crafted and the tracks themselves are so wonderfully melodic (at least the first two-and-a-half), it’s hard to get too hung up on trivialities.
Basically, Afterburn EP is a well produced, well constructed tidal wave of sound, but one that doesn’t quite have the individuality within its tracklisting necessary to make a major impression. There’s loads here to get excited about, but I don’t think Bobby Tank has shown us all he’s got just yet.