Review – “Felt Armour” – Pursuit Grooves

reviewed by Laura Stanley

The general din of the city is incredibly overwhelming. On days when you are feeling particularly sensitive, it can feel as if you are drowning from the noises of the city: dogs barking, people yelling, condos going up, old buildings going down. There’s a man who, when our schedules coincide, I see wearing earplugs on the bus which I am always envious of. But maybe I shouldn’t be.

Pursuit Grooves (Vanese Smith) finds music in chaos. To shun the din with earplugs would be to miss an opportunity to hear a sound that is beautiful or magically mouldable. Smith is a sound miner and uses field recordings to bolster her tracks. A car door slams, a door is unlocked, somebody laughs. On Felt Armour, these sounds are scattered, rearranged, and nestled into blinking synth lines and electronically built beats that whirr and shake with entrancing results.

Felt Armour has two purposes depending on what kind of mood you are in: It’s a record to tune in to or tune out with. When you tune in, there is a seemingly endless amount of minutia to cling to. The bass tremors and the quick inhale (of joy or fear, I don’t know) on opener “Hide and Slick,” the glass noise and pinball-like ricocheting of beats on “Defensive Play,” the playful synth melody on “Plex,” and the foot stomping(?) beat  brilliantly anchoring the disarray of “No Surrender” are moments that stand out for me.

But if you are looking for music to move and groove to, to drift gently in a sonic palette, or to drown out the noises that surround you with curated sounds, Felt Armour can do that too.

Top Tracks: “Hide and Slick”; “No Surrender”

Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)

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