Break Through Artists

E1sbarLong distance duo E1sbar (pronounced Ice Bear) return with a maturation of their multi-layered chill-wave sound on The Legend Of. The pair, formed in 2015, blend Frank Cueto’s sweeping musical vistas with Piper Davis’ haunting vocals. Davis is an in-demand vocalist with releases on Pamapa, Kompakt, and Anjunadeep. She has a distinctive vocal style, which in her own words; “sounds like a mixture of a woman an a prepubescent boy.” Cueto is a member of All Good Funk Alliance (AGFA), a prominenton the electronic funk scene for over two decades. Together as E1sbar, the pair are a definitively modern-day duo. Cueto and Davis have yet to meet in person despite their ongoing collaboration. A sense of distance permeates E1sbar’s sound and Davis’ day job as a flight attendant inspires examinations of her unreal reality; “I basically live on a cloud.” On The Legend Of, Cueto’s production stretches sonically across slick futurescapes with E1sbar’s usual optimism. But where the previous release Looser Futurism explored themes of adapting to a life lived off the ground, The Legend Of is written from the perspective of a post-touchdown reintegration. Davis’ lyrical trajectory is decidedly less “alone in space” and more “looking for life.” There are distinctively grounded dance grooves and more terrestrial elements like the pedal steel on title track. Other examples are the
sturdy bass line on “Star World” and the funk-tinged guitar of “Snowfall.” The sense of expanse is still there; glimmering otherworldly atmospheres resonate from track to track but the need for contact, collaboration, and humanity run through the record in a more urgent way. Real life becomes the promised ideal, followed by the recognition that, here in the future, even on the ground, it’s hard to come all the way down.

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