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Album Review: Sterio – “Transmissions” EP

(@jakartarecords #sterio)
Last night, I just wanted to listen to music and zone out. I didn’t want to have to put on my journalist hat and do work (albeit work that I greatly enjoy). I just wanted to listen to music, ok!? However, while listening to Sterio‘s Transmissions EP, I felt compelled to jot down my thoughts and feelings, because something magical was happening. This 5-track EP served as the Cologne-based producer’s debut EP, released back in October 7th, 2014, via Jakarta Records.

It was released almost a full year ago, and here I am writing about it today. New to the producer, I clicked play on the first song and didn’t know what to expect. With my mind on some other things, I thought “Lost My Mind” was the perfect place to begin. It started out sounding like a starry-eyed mixture of being a soundtrack to a retro cartoon film with a melancholy vibe; I liked where it was going. Then, my wandering thoughts were pushed aside when a gust of wind and uptempo snare drumming took the rhythm into more of happy, whimsical beat. Delicate piano notes danced around a heavy-weighted synth and snare tune, with wind chimes twinkling in the background; all of which bounced around in harmony. There is so much movement and emotion in this song. That weird, off-mood that I was once in, before clicking play on this EP, has disappeared, if only for the length of the project, and I felt good about it.

Hazing” begins with a steady stream of mellow synth notes, while a vocal sample loops repeatedly, and the whole thing rises right into electronic dance territory. Then comes the exciting climb of fast hand claps and atmospheric sounds, which soon drops into a deep, pounding boom bap drum rhythm that you can feel rattling your chest, while you’re surrounded by a thick layering of synth lines. Ahhh, it’s quite glorious. Just when I thought there was going to be another drop towards the last half, I’m surprised when it comes to a brief halt–That’s when he switches it up a little bit, this time with disjointed drums. It’s a fun song that I can see being received well at large-crowd shows, with a spectacular light show and too much fun. Way too much, in a good way.

Along with the first song, “Higher” is another immediate favorite for me. It makes me happy, close my eyes, smile, and just dance around. It’s a big, electronic beat that shines with a beautiful, soulful vocal chop, while being propelled by heavy, thumping drums, rapid-fire hi-hats and a massive breeze that will take you higher–especially, when he does those anticipating instrumental climbs that creates excitement for what’s to come. And, boy, does he deliver on this one! In that middle drop, we’re taken higher than high, into an electronic, blissful utopia of sorts. Like, I’m hearing colors and seeing sounds. Brash, chunky horns, hollow percussion bangs, a synth waterfall, and snazzy effects… then, before you get too comfortable, he mashes the two together for the ultimate instrumental. YESSSSS!

GNRE KLLR” is a slapperrrrrr! While this one doesn’t have the same wow-factor as the previous three, this one is lead by popping, percolating sounds of percussion, hard-hitting crispy claps, booming kicks that thump in the back, and it’s wholly covered by a synth wave. You’re going to like it. My favorite part happens when it goes from relaxing to loud with a lot of electronic sounds. Transmission heard! Again, although “Discover” isn’t as striking as the first three that I was introduced to, it’s still a good, stunning song to groove to. I enjoy listening to it, it hits all the right electro-synth notes, it keeps that smile on my face, and it’s a solid closer. There isn’t one song on this EP that I would skip over, and that’s awesome.

If you were intrigued by what you just read (or maybe you scrolled all the way to the bottom, because reading is for people with time on their hands, huh?), give this EP a listen! I became a fan after tonight, so I hope you like it as much as I do/did. Enjoy! Transmissions is available for you to choose your own price upon downloading, so go do that over at Bandcamp. Donate or don’t, but it’s cool if you do!

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Written By: Tiffany B.

Music and arts journalist, music curator, and co-boss babe of CrayonBeats since 2008! I've published 3,000+ posts consisting of new music, reviews, and interviews. I also do half of everything of CrayonBeats Magazine, so get familiar with our issues! Aside from being a music aficionado, I'm also a freelance artist/illustrator, a creative soul, a natural born lover, a comic book reader, an optimist, and a bit of a weirdo. I hate writing bios about myself, so see ya.