Music is described as being “equally suitable for home listening and the club” with enough frequency to raise the question: is there a hint of disappointment that the music isn’t self-contained enough to create its own ideal listening environment, somewhat autonomous from other imagined spaces? NeferTT may be an anonymous collaboration between two established producers, but far more enjoyable than sounding out who’s involved or where it belongs is sitting back and enjoying their light touch. These spacious, yet occasionally crowded, laid-back, yet sneakily banging tunes approach bass music as a technique for digesting a broad range of sounds rather than an established sound in itself. Resting comfortably on several fault lines, the duo references sounds ranging from jazz harpist Dorothy Ashby to Yuzo Koshiro’s “Streets of Rage” soundtracks, resulting in a smoothed-out, airy, and alluring stance. The four tracks on this EP are miles away from clichés like warmed-over, chopped-and-pitched R&B samples, sharing instead the dreamy, jazz-inflected lightness of Floating Points’ Shadows, albeit condensed into briefer track lengths.
Blue Skies Red Soil is possessed of a soft power that accumulates slowly over its run-time, and even without the digital-only “III” bonus track, it feels more like a mini-album than a typical EP. Its title track opens in a wide-open place, populated by rivulets of harp, soothing electric piano, and a restless, worming bit of bass before a tambourine-led house rhythm brings us up to serene velocity. NeferTT proceed to change course a few more times from here. There are many moments where the listener can detect two different minds at work, figuring out how to fill up the available surfaces, coasting from a dense break to a subdued conversation and back to a subtly driving coda. “Cleo’s Spot” has a more leisurely gait, a hang suite composed of wailing G-funk synth lines that flit around a sharp drone of string pads, set back from percolating congas. “Pyramel” opens with a primly assertive disco beat before a Bashmore-ian parade of tuned bass drums that signals the wind-tunnel clusterfuck to come. “Bless Moon”‘s future-funk drum programming could be straight out of a 16-bit video game with a glossy, nosediving synth part to boot, and comparatively cramped bonus track, “III,” takes this reference even further, to the point of feeling comparatively cramped. All told, there’s enough going on here to ensure that wherever these tunes turn up, we’ll be chuffed to hear them.