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Elephant & Castle: Transitions

Transitions is the debut LP from David Vincent Reep‘s Elephant & Castle. The 11-track album, which is primarily instrumental, is a sophisticated mashup of new and old elements.

It begins with “Adjoining Souls,” a track that beckons the listener to continue on and includes spoken lines from Walter de la Mare’s poem titled “Martha.” The opener seamlessly, and I mean seamlessly, flows into the rest of the album that is lush, sleek and promising.

Transitions takes multiple listens to grasp, which adds to its appeal. It a treat to revisit.

There’s a wisdom and maturity to Reep’s work – the layering, sampling and innovation.

The freshness of “I Will” and “RGB<<” suggest progression. But the jazz elements, and layers of fuzz seen in tracks such as “Demi / Paralysis” and “En Memoria” add a sense of nostalgia. The former samples The Mills Brothers’ “Dream of You,” and the latter features the soft, secret-sharing vocals of tUnE-yArDs’ Merrill Garbus, who sings, “There was once a time, but time may melt away / All into the sun if just another day / and then the days you spent are counted in your head / Close your fingers tight / they’ll slip away like sand.”

Reep has always been a sort of wanderer. He’s lived in Colorado, Texas, London, and California, his current residence. Growing up, music was not a priority in his life, but he was not without curiosity.

Following his seven-year stay in London, Reep returned to the U.S.. His original plan saw him taking classes at UC Santa Cruz, with the goal of becoming a journalist. But when the college dropped their journalism program, Reep headed toward the Bay and enrolled in audio-engineering school. There, he gained knowledge of music, interned at Studio 880 and felt compelled to start his own D.I.Y. music label.

It was also in the States that Reep developed a fascination with the growing rave scene and a particular admiration for the music of DJ Shadow. After purchasing his first SP-303, he began to experiment.

“Anything emotion-based is usually my favorite kind of music. With this project, I chose music that resonated with me because I’ve found that if I get a strong emotional reaction from something, chances are other people will feel it too,” says Reep.

As his story goes, his musical curiosity, ability to network and general appreciation of the art led to Elephant & Castle. Daddy Kev, Godfather of Low End, mastered Analogue, the first EP from Elephant & Castle. To the surprise of Reep, the release received a lot of attention in the music blogosphere, including a nod on Pitchfork.

On the differences between Transitions and Analogues, Reep says, “this album is way more ambient. It’s not as beat oriented, it’s a little more jazz influenced, has a few songs with weird time signatures, making it a bit more complex of a record. During it’s creation, I was making music that was much more spacial and flowing.”

The album is set to release on March 27 on Los Angeles-based Plug Research.

Favorite track(s): En Memoria, Altered Scones

Best play time: When you’re alone, when you’re looking for stimulation, or as the soundtrack for nighttime driving 

Rating: 3/5, an exciting start


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