18th November | Old Malthouse
Photo: Nic Kane
During the sold-out, release show for their new EP, Seeds in Sand, Elder Island infused ethereal, synthesized beats, and trance-inducing visuals with a live energy not normally found in electronic music. The Bristol based band’s set was a refreshing reminder of the city’s hidden pockets of talent and creativity, reflecting an eclectic and unique sound.
Early in the set, tracks were subdued and bass driven, along with the geometric visuals projected over the band, creating a dreamscape and atmospheric sense in The Old Malthouse. As the set progressed, the band found their groove with the crowd as their tracks blended together, embellished with interludes and jams.
Playing through tracks from both EPs, there was a kinesis that gave a driving pace to the music that allowed for the songs to tread between euphoric dance and moodiness, especially on their best known song ‘The Big Unknown’.
Elder Island’s strength comes from their ability to exist in a strange genre that could best be described, oxymoronically, as analog electronica, in that the music uses the dissonance of manipulating analog instruments, loops and drum machines.
A frequent critique of DJs and electronic groups centres around the fact that live sets often look like the members of the band are enthusiastically checking their Instagram accounts; however, Elder Island uses musicianship to play with sounds and instruments in a unique way that engages them with each other and the crowd. In tracks like ‘Hotel Bed’, the band layered sleepy, thick vocals with drum beats that resonated deep in the crowd and make the listener wait for the pay off a dance-filled breakdown.
Seeds in Sand, is reminiscent of the XX and The Knife, but with Elder Islands the vocals are more instrumental and add another level of complexity to the already commendable layering of sound and performance.
Synthetically analog is a nonsensical description that best encapsulates Elder Island’s ability to create a song and a set that transports crowds into a dream-like groove.
Listen to new single ‘Key One’ below.