The solo project of Manchester artist, Liam Gaunt, Takeover Me is a haunting collection of post-house, electronica, blending scarce soundscapes together with the beautiful vocals of Ooni Staerck and Sabira Jade.
Released, March 13th, 2017, Ramber Records.
If you want to jump straight into Takeover Me, that short synopsis will do just fine. With minimalistic styles of electronica, it’s a known fact that reviewers love to over analyse every single beat until there’s virtually no meaning left altogether, so just in case you were worried, that won’t be happening here.
With an overall running time that’s shy of the 20-minute mark, Takeover Me isn’t pushing for emphatic displays of electronic prowess, that sparks a series of warped out experience, while subversive beats mutate calmly for seven minutes of pure nothing, leaving the “weird side of YouTube” commentators to add another band to their grossly popular list.
Takeover Me is so much more simple than that, and thankfully so. As a collection, Takeover Me stands tall with impressive strength, as Gaunt’s delicate blend of electronica with chillwave, and some post-house elements brings several comparisons to mind, while equally attaining his own personal taste on each track.
Opening track Falling is Gaunt’s first sublime example. The first of two tracks with regular collaborator Ooni Staerck, the resemblance to a dystopic, futuristic, Tron-like Nancy Sinatra performing Bang Bang is unexpectedly beautiful, rivalling the intensity of the 60’s classic, as Gaunt’s electronic delicacy with Staerck’s isolated vocals makes for a stunning first taste from Takeover Me. Similarly so, following track, Takeover Me, seizes any need for heavy instrumentation, instead relying upon a steady wave of hypnotic synth, as Sabira Jade welcomes in cool influxes of trip-hop, holding a presence as equally impressive as that of FKA Twigs or Sevdaliza.
Lost Inside, the second track on Takeover Me that features Ooni is arguably the most enticing, as the steady electronica of the EP’s first two tracks combine for an indubious display of charged, chillwave. An oxymoron sure, yet Gaunt and Staerck work together perfectly in creating the party anthem for the end of the night setlist; as bodies grow tired and dancing turns into a slow sway, Lost Inside summons up that final burst of energy from an all night party crawling into daylight, with impeccable taste.
Then just to ensure that Akranes have created an essential, end of the night EP, closing track Sleep Tonight garners the intensity of Four Tet and Chase and Status, while simultaneously minimising the need for any oversized beats, instead sticking to Gaunt’s tactful skills in electronica/house music, securing an end to a beautiful near 20 minutes that will leave a much greater taste in the mouth of any, hazy electronica fans.
Akranes triumph is that Gaunt isn’t trying to do anything awe-inspiringly new, yet creates a stunning electronica EP that feels innovative and exciting. In an ever growing market of minimalism in electronica music, that seemingly falls to inform new artists, that minimalism doesn’t mean to be so stripped back that it’s boring, Akranes sails past the competition with an EP that plays so smoothly and beautifully, that you could happily let Gaunt place you into a trance as long as Takeover Me continues playing endlessly.