Khromi: Gentle EP (Review)

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Scotland-based producer Khromi recently released his latest project on the Australian label After Dark Music. The Gentle EP consists of four tracks including two collaborations, featuring appearences from Liquid Memoirs and RCM. If you haven’t heard of his music yet you should expect ambient, jazz-influenced dance music, generally floating around the 140bpm mark, perfect for this time of year.

The Gentle EP begins with the first of two collaborations as Khromi links up with Liquid Memoirs on ‘Consciousness’. A delicate piano melody sets a mellow, joyous tone for the drum-less introduction. Surrounded by ambient, cloud-like pads and joined by an enticing, otherworldly, synth just before the drop that sparks tremendous interest. As the drums make their first appearance the track began to feel somewhat reminiscent of the style of the revered frenchman Von D, with its own original twist. The sub-bass is as wobbly as it is deep, gliding beneath the cosmic sounds that lay above. Every so often the ambient background pads are combined with enveloping, wind-like effects that help signify the transition between sections. As the track enters the breakdown it feels like a well-timed and pleasing release from the busier main section, allowing a minor, relaxing break before unfolding into yet more dreamy, summer vibes.

Chifu, the second of the four tracks, starts with a similar vibe as its predecessor although slightly more melancholic. Beautiful piano and distant, swirling pads introduce the second journey and much like the first track, no drums feature until the ambient introduction descends into action around one minute in. Luscious foley textures compliment the progressive, heartwarming melodies and the combination of those aspects form a dreamy, meditative experience throughout. The melody itself is extremely addictive, dancing around the drums and emerging every so often to reaffirm the catchy, memorable feeling that the entire track echoes from beginning to end.

Khromi is joined by RCM for the title track Gentle. As to be expected by now, the track sets off on its path in like a daydream. Deep synthesised keys introduce the melody whilst subordinate, harmonic blips acompany the melody. In a welcome and pleasant contrast to the previous tracks, the drums are introduced much earlier than in the previous two. Crisp hi-hats dance around the melody while subtle birdsong features in the background, emphasising the song’s title and creating a stronger sense of reverie. Aptly titled, Gentle, feels like a journey through the clouds, unlike the other three tracks though, it never really pulls you back down to earth. In the sense that, at times, it felt like it needed a climatic or dynamic alternative. However, as the track progressed that feeling was removed with the introduction of additional instruments. The later adaptation of the melody also greatly improved the mood and solidified both the emotion within the track and displayed the fantastic work from both producers.

Nature is, in my opinion, the most captivating of all of the tracks on the Gentle EP. The final track begins with warm, melodic chords and short gaps between each of them that emanate a sense of wonder and suspense. Shortly after, the pads are joined by a jazz influenced synthesised sound that glides around the soundscape and for me, this was the most charming moment in the entire project. The drum structure is slightly faster than the rest of the tracks, with bouncy kick-drums, steppy hi-hats and the occasional doubled-up/two-hit snares. It feels slightly garage-influenced at times. As Nature progresses, the jazz influence is reinforced with the use of short but sweet features from the massively satisfying saxophone and occasional harp plucks. For me, Nature embodies the message behind the Gentle EP and also Khromi’s sound as a whole, continuously putting his heart and soul into his projects with results that are admirable and inspiring.

 

Khromi has an impeccable ability to ensure his music is constantly emotive, almost score-like, whilst not losing any of its ‘dance music identity’. Never has that been so evident than in his latest work, the Gentle EP. The variety of instruments Khromi tends to use is evidence of his ability to mould and craft sounds however he wants to fit the desired mood. Something that not all electronic music producers are capable of executing in such style.  The Gentle EP features various elegant melodies, intelligent drums and great use of automation. Khromi continues to prove why he is a producer to keep an eye on.