Review | Eel Collective – eel.comp1


Out now

Rating: 8.5/10


By Laura Turnbull

Cornwall is the last stop; the far-flung, blustery end of the line. And we couldn’t be happier about it. The ideal environment for cultivating a creative Narnia, it’s no surprise that Cornwall has its own unique answer to electronic music too. If the thought of modular synth setups in caravans and secret raves in abandoned barns gets you excited, eel are exactly what you’ve been waiting for. 

“We knew a lot of talented people down here making electronic music, but there was no representation, no gigs,” Łukasz, who set up eel with friends Annie Hockeysmith and Inka Upendo, explained. So the group began putting on nights at Fives in Falmouth. Aphex Twin made a few appearances, word-of-mouth did its magic, “and now we’ve got people coming to us!” The Falmouth-based electronic collective have just released their first album, ‘eel.comp1′. A collection of tracks from friends and collaborators, it’s an intoxicating taste of what’s to come. We’re already hooked.

Eel.comp1‘ opens with the mesmerising sounds of ‘Oh Mr James.’ Featuring a vocal sample that will glide through your psyche and shipwreck your common-sense, ‘Frenetically Pronounced’ is the closest thing to synthesised folklore we’ve heard. From here the album somersaults straight into a heavy dose of distorted pop courtesy of Hockeysmith (hold tight, those dizzying jumps between tracks don’t stop here).

Allegedly Łukasz (omoo) is working on some ambient experiments. But these are obviously being saved for future eel releases, as his contribution to ‘eel.comp1‘ is anything but relaxing. More jittery than an insomniac at a sleepover, ‘sorry not sorry’ will make your palms sweaty with its sledgehammer of a bass and hi hits that rattle out at machine-gun rate. Akin to Coucou Chloe’s trap-inspired electronics and the soul-crushing sonic assaults of Mun Sing, omoo’s sounds spin out on a dark playfulness all of their own. We’re still reeling. 

But the fun doesn’t end there, as Hallion precedes to warp the infamous Amen break at sickeningly-fast speed. It’s a frantic joy-ride that’s followed seamlessly by c o n t x t. ‘Return to Sender’ is tucked into the centre of ‘eel.comp1′ like hidden treasure. The glassy rattle of cymbals over bass is sublime, c o n t x t’s dense rhythms will run circles around your subconscious. Way spookier than Mount Kimbie and sleepier than Burial but containing whispers of both, ‘Return to Sender’ is a track you’ll end up listening to compulsively, over and over again. 

Time to come up for air. Kind of. ’Mellow’, Inka Upendo’s track on ‘eel.comp1′ crafts the kind of lyrical hooks that loop in your dreams. “I hang out with the cool kids on the block, wasting time until it’s you o’clock”. With soft melodies that weave around the subject of new relationships and precarious love, ‘Mellow’ negotiates that tightrope between just-a-bit-of-fun and infatuation. Riberak and Lui Severin keep the momentum going with shuddering snares and club-y hiccups of bass.

Eel.comp1′ ends with seamouse. Ambient bliss. Like each track on the album it feels like a glimpse of something special. There’s a whole lot more of eel to be discovered. Defiantly left-field, ‘eel.comp1‘ is a blisteringly strong statement of intent from the collective – and they’re only just warming up. Cornwall may be the far-flung, blustery end-of-the-line, but its electronic scene is showing no signs of slowing down. 

Listen to ‘eel.comp1‘ here:

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