We live in a society where the ease at which we can all produce electronic, bedroom pop is at an all time high. Artists from creative hubs like Brooklyn, Montreal, Detroit, and L.A. can now make records at an almost overwhelming rate, where it becomes difficult to wade through the banks. This abundance isn’t solely on the increase of equipment access though – we hear about more artists because the gatekeepers of old aren’t the only ways we discover music now. Everything is at out fingertips, so an unsigned artist from Duluth is technically just as easy to access as Beyoncé.
The point, and how it relates to this review is, there’s a lot of music out there, so why care about Toronto/Brooklyn duo, Ginla? Their debut EP, Dreaming in Circles, which is out now on a limited edition cassette, is a meek but totally enjoyable set of music that satisfies beyond mere “pleasant-sounding.” Well that is beyond its opening, “Summer,” which doesn’t do much evoke the sensation of the season, but sounds more like the duo testing out the sound palette that they’ll be working through over the following four tracks. While spruce beats are abound on “Things You Have,” there’s still enough space in there in which a dangling, reverby guitar part adds some gleaming. Ginla’s Facebook doesn’t identify the names of the band members beyond simply “joe and jon,” but whoever is the vocalist for Ginla sings some pretty good melodies (despite lacking a distinctive voice), as can be heard especially on the drifting “We’re All Floating.” It wouldn’t be surprising if the title was selected when the music was first written, because the song is an agile floater that would be a believable bed-track for anything on Washed Out’s Paracosm. It’s an entrancing track, especially when all the layers eventually peel back for the outro. which leaves with just one scratchy guitar strumming its progression.
On “Marooned,” the group picks up the tempo but keeps the shades on. Clapping beats form the basis under engulfing synths and a springy guitar part. Its arguably the most 4AD-esque track here, as some of the sounds evoke tones you’d hear on Cure and Cocteau Twins records, although the song and the group don’t really resemble either of those bands. Everything remains chill and serene throughout the EP, which makes Dreaming in Circles a decent mood piece of a record, although its 18-minute length is limiting if you’re looking to really fall into a wormhole. The cloudy “What About the Sun?” finishes the set in a droney haze, where the vocals are obscured in a bunch of echoed mutters, and a cold setting of synths.
Despite this EP opening with a track called “Summer,” all the tracks are icy, albeit in always in a comfortable way, as if observing a snowstorm from the safety of a warm bed. Ginla know how to work within the frosty soundscape of their universe, even if they are using a well-worn road map. While I’m personally always holding out for an abnormally warm winter, this EP wouldn’t be a bad soundtrack if the Farmer’s Almanac is correct.