Six months following her debut EP Open Door on Dutch imprint Atomnation, Sky Civilian is set to release a sophomore EP, At the Seams, on November 8th. At the Seams is a stepping stone, from the lyrical, gentle, genre-agnostic electronica of Open Door, to Maggie’s own rounded and angelic take on acid-house. Her debut EP Open Door was “clean and angelic” according to Uproxx, “soothing, sweet, marvelously refreshing” by New Retro Wave, and “a glimpse into a kinder, more gentle future” by Queen City Sounds and Art. Her follow-up EP, At the Seams is a gleaming example of an artist on her way, a sonic Bildungsroman, if you will. A work of searching, and in many moments, finding.
The EP showcases six dance-floor-friendly, cross genre tracks, each with a signature sound. Opening track Don’t Call Me Back features salty lyrics, muted Rhodes atop gritty and distorted bongo loops. The second track, Smile, is the first hint at a more dance-floor focused future for Sky Civilian. Hers is hollow and melancholic, with drooping synths propped-up by a blunt kick and a de-facto acid riff.
The most sure-footed moment in the EP comes with the track Otherworld, which features fat loops, a sparkling acid backdrop and seraphic, beckoning vocals. This moment of levity is abruptly ended by Where is that Good Energy Lurking, with its caustic percussion and bed of crackling orchestral strings underneath clear-as-day brass. Closing track Lullaby is sweet but not sleepy, at 140 bmp, with swinging sawtooth synths, cowbells, and stuttering, confessional vocals.
Maggie’s cinematic, synth-heavy style emerged after a decade of orchestral French horn playing and classical studies. She combines this brass-inspired, synth-forward approach with her weightless, almost-whispered vocals, and dance-floor ready beats. The melding of influences present in her work make Maggie a fresh and promising new artist in the electronic music scene, an artist we hope to hear more from for many years to come.
The collage of sounds on this record fit so well together: traditional instruments, electronic dance, experimental soundscapes, IDM... The individual tracks are great, but this project truly excels when taken as a complete work. If you're at all interested in what's going on in the forefront experimental electronic music, this is where you should start Ryan Krantz