Neu Balance wears his heart on his sleeve for 'In my life I've loved them all'

Neu Balance, one of Vancouver’s great breakout artists from the heyday of 1080p recordings, is back with a second full-length album, this time for the Seattle label Budget Cuts Records & Tapes. Despite retaining the name Neu Balance, however, this album is anything but the same rubbery, lurching, hazed out sounds of the first album, “Rubber Sole.” After the departure of Sebastian Davidson for solo works, Sam Beatch seems to have taken the opportunity of full control at the helm to branch out and collaborate in all directions. This new album, titled “In my life, I’ve loved them all,” includes a whole host of features by fellow producers, session musicians, and vocalists. They all work in tandem to expand the NB sound palette considerably, and coalesce into a polished, coherent, and smooth listen right from the first play.

The sound is still unmistakably PNW, but where Rubber Sole felt idiosyncratic and rhythmically experimental, In my Life, I’ve loved them all finds a confident unification of ideas. Track arrangements feel much more natural, the production is precise, and the emotional resonance of the compositions shine bright through it all. This is intuitive music; it prioritizes feeling over thinking, and the result is entirely sumptuous to consume.

Get a taste up above by streaming “I left my body alone with you,” featuring vocalist Forever, and hop over to Budget Cuts’ Bandcamp to get a copy for yourself.

— review by autonomy

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Iain Howie goes beyond the blueprint for 'Living & Dying'

“Living & Dying,” the brand new single from local Vancouver resident Iain Howie, is unmistakably modern dance music. The production quality, four-on-the-floor beat structure, and sound processing all make sure of it. But to leave it at that would simply be a disservice to what is, underneath the arped-out synths and thumping kicks, a lyrical ballad bursting at the seams with melancholic despair.

Compositionally, ‘Living & Dying’ breaks far out of the loop-based patterns that are commonplace in the dance world, with instrumentation that comes closer to the feel of a session musician or live band — a testament to Howie’s musicality. His soft vocals counterpoint the airy pads that are omnipresent throughout the track, giving it a sombre tone. The lyrical quality of the track makes it perfect for home listening, and yet provides just enough structure that DJs won’t have any problem fitting it into a set for a bit of a changeup.

You can buy it now from UK label Needwant’s Bandcamp, or stream it on Spotify. And if you like this one, keep an eye out for a forthcoming remix by Bob Moses…

— review by autonomy

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