One of the many projects of Erik Nava, A.K.A. DJ Egadz & the man behind Matterhorn, Satellites takes Mr. Nava’s already established electronic talent and gives it a new direction. Ghost is an interesting fusion of hip-hop and indie, at some points sounding like an instrumental version of The Postal Service, and at others, an up-beat dish of atmospheric electronica and dubstep that is too messy for its own good.
The best part of Satellites’ premier album is that never hits that oppressive, bass-thumping point that generally makes me shut off my music. No silly and boring club mixes on this album. Instead, Ghost contains many complex beats and arrangements that are both though-provoking and energetic at the same time. If Big Gigantic drank a Marley’s Mellow Mood and just hung out for a bit, this would be the result: a fun and interesting album that takes much of what DJ Egadz has to offer, and makes it more palatable to the more casual listener or one who is not a fan of hip-hop.
However, due to the toning down of many of the background beats that one can’t help but notice in regular electronic music, they blend in all too well with the main driving lines in a few songs. A perfect example of this is the song “Triple Helix”, which has this swirling sound throughout the course of the track, which leaves the song a wet mess when it meshes with the constant dubstep line in back. The proof is in the pudding, because when the dubstep is taken out at the very end, it cleans up impressively well and leaves me curious of what the song would sound like if it was less busy.
Up to this point, you may be thinking you may not even want to give this a chance, but that would be a sad mistake. Along with a few mishaps, Satellites provides for a bunch of breathtaking moments that I wasn’t even expecting. First and foremost, “Here’s a Ghost You Can Find” is an absolute killer track, my top from the album and probably one of my favorites from Kid Without Radio. It’s so explosive and attention-grabbing, it was hard not to take notice of it during my first play-though of this album. The higher notes make for a sound that reminds me of a woman’s choir that’s equal parts eerie and epic. In addition, the first song, “Paradoxi”, is light and playful, yet never losing seriousness, and it makes for an incredible way of opening up the album. The ending was so crisp and well-executed that it was almost tear-provoking.
Rating: With a few lows, some major highs, and most songs coming in at about midway, Ghost by Satellites is a promising foundation to build upon. Ghost provides an example of some of the best technical song-building skill Erik Nava has ever demonstrated, hands down. On the other hand, many of his other songs became to experimental and strange to even enjoy listening to. If you balance out the good with the bad, you land with a solid 3/5.