After spending the last year and a bit experimenting with different creative modes of producing, Melbourne’s Lewis Cancut returns to NLV Records with his spacious and genre-defying five-track EP, Air Condition. Like nothing else he’s created before, the release is defined by its inability to be put into any one category, making for one of his most unique releases to date.
2017 saw him put out a couple of future-facing tracks, including a textural exploration in ‘Plastic Games’, featuring the computerised pipes of Hatsune Miku, a split 7” release with fellow Melbourne producer Paz and he closed out the year with ‘i15’, a post-human love song featuring Melbourne future-pop artist, Jordan Variant.
Air Condition sees Lewis Cancut continuing his collaborative streak, but not in the same way that we’re used to.
The EP’s rubbery opener ‘Lights’ is the long overdue follow up to Lewis and Tigarah’s previous collaboration, ‘Say Ok’, which has amassed over 250 000 plays on Spotify. Recorded at the RBMA studios in Shibuya, Tokyo, ‘Lights’ is a melting pot of some of Lewis’ signature production styles. Sitting at the intersection of shimmering pop and Japanese rap, the crunchy exterior of this track sees the pair take things up a notch. Where ‘Say Ok’ was a saccharine-sweet dream, ‘Lights’ is grittier, with thumping kickdrums and a rumbling low-end defining it.
Tigarah sings of car crashes, flashing lights and lust, with her various pop personas changing with ease to match the swift mood changes conducted by Lewis. One second, the track is sugary sweet, and the next, it’s a thumping rap track with Tigarah relentlessly spitting her inimitable flow atop Lewis’ red-hot instrumental.
‘Armour’ sees Lewis teaming up again with Jordan Variant, this time for a fragmented pop fantasy that tells a story of a smart-home coming to life and terrorising its owner. Jordan’s unmistakeable voice tells the story atop Lewis’ fizzy instrumental, giving us bubble and pop.
Horror as a genre has frequently turned the home into a supernatural threat, and Lewis and Jordan use ‘Armour’ to create a sonic world where display screens go blank and futuristic chrome details glisten in the dystopian darkness.
The track highlights Lewis’ and Jordan’s interest in the increasingly complicated relationship between humans and technology, the carbonated exterior adding to the anxious mood of the track.
Frenetic rhythms meet boundless energy on ‘Metal On Metal’, a track which was forged during Lewis’ festival sets in the time after his previous EP, Indoor Rainforest. An ice-cold baseline sets the tone for the metallic track, him slowly building it into a relentless frenzy of ticking drums and razor-sharp synth lines.
If John Carpenter re-wrote his film scores with input from Pretty Tony, ‘Metal On Metal’ would be the resulting soundtrack.
The EP’s title track, ‘Air Condition’ sees Lewis gently crafting a sonic ecosystem complete with frogs, running water and a humid air about it. It’s a new kind of sound from him that sees him draw from his more recent work in scoring and sound designing virtual reality projects.
‘More Than Human’ sees Lewis drawing from his earlier sounds to create a future-facing hybrid of new and old. Clunky percussion meets sampled vocal stabs for a sonic Picasso, the abstract arrangement being dominated by unlikely sound pairings.
Drawing on 80’s New York freestyle, PC pop and ASMR videos, ‘More Than Human’ is a shimmering coat of arms with which to take into battle when venturing outside of your online safe space.
It’s the perfect note to end the EP on, giving us a full circle moment of which to consider this full-bodied microcosm he’s crafted.
Of the EP, Lewis said “For me this this whole project has been about the strangeness of music – how music can have its own atmosphere, climate, gravity etc. Every track I try and approach as its own world, where anything can happen, as long as it makes sense within the rules of that world. Listening through the EP, I hope people enjoy the way it moves between spongy, metallic, fizzy, rubbery and crystalline zones.”
With previous releases on apt seminal electronic labels such as Mad Decent, Activia Benz, Enchufada, Secret Songs and more, Lewis has accumulated a catalogue of sounds that showcase not only his prowess as a producer, but his apt ear for crafting sonic worlds that exist entirely in a league of their own.
His recent foray into the world of scoring and sound design has seen him soundtrack Pitch Studios’ Gilded Dimension VR experience, perform carefully crafted ambient works at the likes of RMIT’s Design Hub and more.