Review of Hylas 002 EP by Thomas Azier

Having released his debut E.P 'Hylas 001' in early 2012, twenty four year old Thomas Azier offers the next stage in his trilogy of E.Ps. 'Hylas 002', like its predecessor, is solely written and produced by Azier. It is evident that he knows what he wants his music to sound like and is willing to spend time in production to achieve this. 

Thomas Azier Hylas 002 EP

Azier describes his music as compact pop, but, although the pop sensibility is immediately apparent, there is definitely an avant garde feel to the music. Opening track 'Fire Arrow' is a prime example of this, an initial drone is introduced before wild, haunting screeches are added to the mix. After the experimental introduction, we get a taste of Azier's impressive vocal range. Particularly within 'Fire Arrow' the style of singing brings to mind Yannis Philippakis of 'Foals'; Azier's delicate yet powerful delivery compliments the deep synths and ambient pads perfectly.

Second track 'Angelene' builds up steadily as additional synths, vocal effects and percussion are added to the initial ambient drone. The production is immaculate as each instrument and effect is combined perfectly with the surrounding mix. The wild arpeggios and compelling noises are often reminiscent of the experimental electronica of 'Crystal Castles'. Final track 'Shade of Black' sees a change in style and mood as a soft piano forms the basis of the track and Azier's vocals, whilst still impressive, take up a more melancholic tone. The track as a whole has little glimmers which bring to mind the likes of 'Bon Iver' and 'How To Dress Well' but, in general, the downbeat approach doesn't seem to work as well as the electronic energy offered in the previous two tracks.

With 'Hylas 002', Azier makes good progress in establishing himself as a recognised artist and producer and, although there are still improvements to be made and a definite style to be found, the Berlin based artist seems to be heading for big things. Here's to 'Hylas 003'!

James Hopkin

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