Best Vancouver albums of 2016: You’re Me – ‘Plant Cell Division’ (1080p)

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The still life that’s featured on the cover of Plant Cell Division appears hardened, frozen black, perhaps entirely synthetic. But choosing to depict a twiggy plant form this way illustrates the mood that You’re Me, the duo of Yu Su and Scott Johnson Gailey, set on their debut tape: Plant Cell Division is naturalistic but rooted in nuanced electronics.

Su and Gailey give sonic expression to the ambience of the Gulf Islands where they recorded Plant Cell Division. Like the Islands, the album is a mental getaway: peaceful, insulated. Textures and patterns unfurl from kernels of ideas, like single cells multiplying. Su and Gailey may have isolated themselves amongst natural surroundings, but from the audio to the visual, Plant Cell Division could not be more aesthetically cohesive.

Standout track – “Applet W.”

See the rest of my picks at Vancouver Weekly.

Best Vancouver albums of 2016: Elka – ‘Chants’ (1080p)

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Elan Benaroch has been DJing and producing electronic music in Vancouver for over a decade-and-a-half. As a testament to his fluid skills, Chants, his 1080p debut as Elka, constantly moves forward without stumbling over skittish electronics like those that fizz up on “Fairbeat”. Buoyant, bass-y keyboards not only keep “Pass Groove” afloat but propels Chants along at a comfortable pace. However, a track like the polyrhythmic “Expander” undeniably packs an extra snap with its clapping percussion. Yet Elka’s unafraid to – and equally adept at – slowing down a notch to give the tracks some useful breathing space, a touch that heightens the ears’ attention to details including the subtly ringing cymbal-play on “Excursion 909”.

Clean, sharp blips that almost mimic bird chirps on “Closer” and entomological rattles on “Silver Beach” imbue Chants with a natural, living feel. 1080p describes Benaroch as introverted, but the world he inhabits is colourful, full of life, and full of surprises. We’re lucky he lets us in.

Standout track – “Pass Groove”

See the rest of my picks at Vancouver Weekly.