SCQ Rating: 80%
Would I be remiss to suggest that people who don’t listen to electronic music would find R+B=? the perfect excuse to absolve themselves from ever giving the genre a shot? A cursory listen would seem to support the idea, given the record’s relaxed break-beats and the clinical, bubbly tones that politely surround them. As if strict rock enthusiasts didn’t already have enough prejudice concerning the merits of electronic music, the fact that Aeroc’s opening track is called ‘Spaced Out’ just furthers the assumption that R+B=? belongs on a bong shelf somewhere. Personally, I’m more than happy to keep them in the dark.
That’s because R+B=? just begs to be underestimated. As it turns out, boasting an affinity for turn-of-the-millenium lounge and reworking downtempo beats won’t really resonate with the perverted crossover culture of 2012, but those who stick with Aeroc’s austere workouts for repeated listens will uncover a satisfying and sophisticated collection of minimal techno. What churns Aeroc’s game to another level is the abundance of acoustic guitar featured here; the looped strums on ‘Soflo’ evoke the chill-out template of Kruder & Dorfmeister and yet take on a new momentum through the intricate picking on ‘For Sake’. At its atmospheric prime, White’s guitar work melds into the placid body of his electronic composition with the accomplished air of Boards of Canada’s The Campfire Headphase, unveiling deeper layers to ‘You Say That’ and ‘If I Had the Time’.
The initial feeling of sterility that may ward off curious listeners is merely space, the sort of uncluttered openness that directs our focus to the details (like, say, what’s actually a consistently deft display of beat-programming) or allows our mind to swim in Aeroc’s brainy diversions. R+B=? is far too straight-laced and exclusive to convert anyone’s narrow notions of electronic music. And on behalf of everyone who treats this album as a secret soundtrack, we’re just fine with that.
Aeroc - Spaced Out
Aeroc - Spaced Out