eLan, Alligator Snaps

[Monkeytown Records]

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Coming out of Shlohmo’s Wedidit Collective will certainly have afforded eLan (born Elan Stouffer) a familiarity with not only emotive electronics, but an irreverent sense of melody and song composition. From the stuttering opening of “Alligator Snaps,” one can easily understand why Modeselektor signed eLan to their Monkeytown label. Both artists have an affinity for happily coasting melodies juxtaposed with off-the-wall drum programming. With Alligator Snaps, the middle EP in a trilogy, the San Diego-based eLan has gotten downright swampy. With percussion and synths reflecting a nighttime serenade from one gator to the next, the music is a startling accurate representation of the song title. That music-to-title relationship is apparent on all of the tracks, with “Hunting Season” being ominously dark, like beats for stalking, while “Saccharin On Top” is so sticky, the bass and synths get caught on themselves repeatedly.

“Saccharin On Top” and “Shoot The Beam” represent the hip-hop side of eLan on the EP, with loud snares anchoring the rhythm and the bass doing the bulk of the melodic work. “Shoot The Beam” sounds like a triumphant soundtrack moment, blasting off into space after a hard day’s work, hunting alligators. While the bass is ever present, the middle of the track features a long synth solo riding in the higher frequencies. Curiously, Cosmin TRG turns in a techno remix of the title track to close Alligator Snaps out. After four tracks of eclectic hip-hop, this slinky number is somewhat of a curve ball, removing the humorous qualities of the original in favor of a straight-laced club track. As a counterpoint, it serves to highlight eLan’s unique flavor as a beatmaker with a light heart and vivid imagination. After Bleep Bloop Brrrrmmp and now Alligator Snaps, we await the capper to the Monkeytown trilogy and that continues to push eLan’s sensibilities to the front.

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