Nocow: Pulkovo Heights EP (G5 Music)
Russian producer Alexey Nikitin is the brain behind Nocow, and this half-hour long set of tracks is my first exposure to his music. Nikitin knows his way around electronic production quite well, as exemplified by the eight varied pieces on this release. The title track kicks things off with some force, with a heavy cinematic drama that reminds me of the Glitch Mob. It’s emotive and dense, a very big track brimming with sound. The subsequent tracks are more subtle, with rhythm tracks that recall the crooked swagger of Burial, Late or Scuba without feeling derivative. The mood is decidedly more sedate than the opener, with melancholy pads, the occasional disembodied vocal fragment, and plenty of reverb to go around. The mood of the album is a bit of an inverted bell curve, with “Look No Hands” providing the gloomiest and slowest of the bunch in the play sequence. “Orion” pulls back up, though, with a nice four-to-the-floor kick and deep techno crossover appeal. It’s a strong outing from a relatively new contender in this diverse musical landscape, solid from start to finish.