Released this week on Native Cat Recordings is Walkie Talkie – a solo EP from Toro y Moi and Poolside percussionist, Brijean Murphy, going here simply by Brijean.
At eight tracks long this sequence accomplishes as much as some full length studio albums. Themes are stated, explored and developed. This isn’t a simple dipping-of-the-toe, or sneaky trailer of intent.
Given that Brijean has been earning a crust with mad-conga skills it’s no surprise that the percussive elements of Walkie Talkie are perfectly delivered. Grooves here are centered on a summer temperature. There’s a sense that Brijean celebrates hardest when solar flares melt asphalt, fuck with radio broadcasts, and we all slow down to dance in hydrant spray.
There are outliers to this heat. Such is the size of this EP, there is space for such a thing as an outlier. Nocturnal enterprises are also explored. Most explicitly ‘Meet Me After Dark’, closing the sequence, brings one of the trippier aspects where lack of light permits deeper pop psychedelia. Things are cooler here, and on the title track.
For all the dynamism of a groove-driven psych-pop EP, there are moments of surprising experimentation where more ambient passages open up and hint toward the trajectory Brijean is most interested in. ‘Drive Slow’ feels like we’re dropped underwater. Life is possible here, but it’s not the world that we’re used to. Shapes are surprising, and the structure is painted as being inconsequential to mood. This is all atmosphere. It’s grand.
Other, more certain aspects, are delivered with an assurance of someone finally delivering a dialog they have been spinning for an age. ‘Show and Tell’ is a track of rare confidence. It knows how to chill. In fact, this entire EP is a lesson in how to chill when the heat is high.
Deeply pleasing, highly suggestive, and demonstrating a route that should lead to even grander territories Walkie Talkie demonstrates the intention of a compelling artist on the brink.