KOAN Sound & Asa – Sanctuary EP

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Oct 27, 2013



Ladies, Gentlemen, Children,

Gather round to hear the glory that is the EP, Sanctuary. On their Soundcloud, the duo defines KOAN as, “A puzzling, often paradoxical statement or story, used in Zen Buddhism as an aid to meditation and a means of gaining spiritual awakening,” and this EP would certainly fall into that category. More so than their last EP, The Adventures of Mr. Fox, which had a much grimier funkier sound, this EP evolves from a peaceful “Sanctuary,” and works its way to some more traditional KOAN Sound-sounding wub. That’s what you get when you have a stellar ambient orchestralish producer in Asa, and the best funky wub producers out there collaborating. Though the production level is just as excellent as their last release, this most recent EP is more of a story.

To me, this album is an art form. It has a progression, much like, say… Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. Without many words, it conveys a progression of emotions, that flows seamlessly, and invokes all the feels. In the past few years, the EDM community has produced a lot of solid music, and this one, in my opinion, is up there as one of the best album/EPs. Let’s break it down:

The track above the first blurb is Sanctuary. Easing into the album with a beautiful, gradual groove complete with strings and everything else beautiful you could imagine. The strings lull you to sleep with their delicate sound, and yet, you’re so focused on all the layers of the song, that you couldn’t possibly nod off. A stellar beginning, which really does evoke the feeling of safety. This is clearly Asa‘s “solo track” because it sounds just like him.

The next track, Starlite, the song that they had released early, is also pretty, but gets a little bit more rhythm section. The level of the drums comes up, and you start to hear just a tad of that signature KOAN wub. The piano is on point, and it is certainly the average of the album from an orchestra:wub ratio.

This Time Around is the most traditional song so to speak. With some beautiful lyrics and vocal lines over the very complex, just-right undertone. I really like the slight exasperation, the delicate vocal strain, that Koo brings to the table. This song takes it back a notch from Starlite, and is a great turning point for the album.

Fuego, which in spanish for “fire,” for the linguists among you, abandons the safe place feel of the first two songs on the EP. Coming back with a bouncing groove and a hint of that wub once more, this song is certainly a contrast. Maybe not fire, but the layers of sound mesh so well, that there are parts of the beat you don’t even notice. Without them though, you’d be at a loss.

And finally, Tetsuo’s Redemption, is the bringing together of each theme represented earlier in the EP. Touches of orchestral, touches of lyric and vocal, and a whole lotta that signature KOAN sound. The song really goes back to the last album during the “drops” and really ties everything together nicely.

Now that the EP has concluded, take a break, lie down, turn it up, and listen again. It’s truly an experience.

Asa on:

Facebook | Soundcloud | TwitterBeatport

KOAN Sound on: 

Facebook | Soundcloud | Twitter | Beatport



p.s. Best soundcloud comment for this album is, “”If I was to slowly die, this would be the soundtrack to the flashback of my life.” Party on.

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Chicago, IL
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