Up until now Gold Panda reserved his label, Notown, for his own releases, that’s finally changed with the release of Luke Abbott’s “Modern Driveway”. The entire record is on some extremely late night business, as in catching the subway at 5AM while asking yourself why you stayed out so late with work in three hours. Running contrary to current trends, every track is drowned in distinctly digital sounds, yet produces a worn and grainy effect.
Stream: Luke Abbott – Modern Driveway (Notown Records)
Even though the EP is only 22 minutes long (which is still pretty lengthy) expect to spend at least an hour listening to it as you will surely put tracks like “Modern Driveway” on repeat two or three times. Dampened snippets of white noise are laced underneath slowly arpeggiating keys. There are a surprisingly small amount of elements to the track, but pads move around so fluidly that there’s never a still moment. We couldn’t help but notice the similarities between that track and Gold Panda’s “Marriage” in terms of the melancholy it produces as well as overall vibe; it’s not all that surprising considering it’s his imprint. It really is a standoff between “Modern Driveway” and “Carrage” for standout track on an already superb EP. “Carrage” has substantially less pad movement going on and instead relies on arpeggiating keys in a similar fashion as “Modern Driveway” to take the lead. Those two tracks may be the ones DJs immediately reach for, but for those looking for more soundscape and a world to lose oneself in look no further than “Hand Drawn Maps” and “Ovals”. Both tracks spend a significant amount of their three minutes building a synthetic landscape out of harsh horns and the sounds of 80s computer bleeps. It’s relatively easy to picture someone messing with a room full of gear, twisting nobs and pulling levers to obtain these sounds; though it’s unlikely it was done that way. Our only gripe is the final track, which honestly we could do without. There’s nothing particularly wrong with it, it just feels a bit repetitive, as most of these sounds were thoroughly rinsed in the previous four. Still, it’s a solid, broken track with drums staggering along with guitar plucks and the occasional snap of hi hats.
Honestly, this EP is almost perfect and will be staple on our late night journey playlist. Abbott creates his own little world in the span of a few minutes and we’ve fallen in love with it. Every track appears honest and lacks most of the typical clichés of a lot of music that reaches our ears. Each track is distinctly a Luke Abbott track and has built on many of the krautrock elements of his album. This is our favorite piece of music from him since his 2010 album, “Holkham Drones”.
Luke Abbott’s “Modern Driveway” is available now on Notown Records.