TEENGIRL FANTASY’S TRACER
Ever since finding out that Teengirl Fantasy had a follow up to 7 AM in the works, we’ve all been constantly checking our iPhone calendar apps and reading every worthless bit of XLR8R news leaked about the duo. Just kidding, guys. Good on you. Of the surprisingly large palette of chillwave and experimental electronic acts and artists, it is a tragedy that Logan Takahashi and Nick Weiss (Teengirl Fantasy) don’t get as much exposure as some of the other names in the field do. Though their vibes can often be handily filed away into that bulky folder of this new wave of retro electronic music that we’re experiencing, Teengirl Fantasy takes it a step further. They command a mastery of hypnotizing hipster dance music that shines throughout everything they’ve created on their self-released CD-R, their singles, and their official debut full-length album 7 AM. The aforementioned album was kind of a BFD to us, by the way.
In short, the new album, Tracer, which was officially released in the US yesterday, streamlines that signature Teengirl Fantasy technique of post-rock-esque build and release, while still managing to cast off the audio haze and melodrama present in the debut album. Gone are the ghostly wails and cries from the mother land, replaced instead with lucid, but logical lyrics. The passionate soulful vocals of Shannon Funchess in “Dancing in Slow Motion” have been traded in for more straightforward, resolute yearnings by Kelela, Panda Bear, and Romanthony. The instrumentation in Tracer is just as percussion-heavy as the previous album’s, except with a unique focus on vintage jungle-sounding beats, instead of the maddening four-on-the-floor basslines in 7 AM. Overall, the tone of Teengirl Fantasy’s newest release is uniformly ethereal, but very primitive. Early nineties Warp Records IDM influences shine through quite noticeably, and flute synth samples abound, resulting in a very nostalgic MIDI-esque feel, like what Casa del Mirto and LA Vampires by Octo Octa have been dabbling in lately. While retaining the mood and modus operandi of the debut album, Tracer trades in the heavy atmospherics for a measured concentration on primal beatmaking’s early days. I, for one, personally kind of miss the sassy melodrama of jams like “Floor to Floor” and “Cheaters”, but the heavily layered safari beats present in tunes like “Pyjama” and “End” on Tracer are living proof that this downtempo duo is rapidly evolving, honing its sound with every new breath. Listen closely, and you can hear the two tweaking and fine-tuning every track. Don’t look for singles on the album; just listen to it as a whole. Do tha right thing, and grab a copy of Teengirl Fantasy’s newest submission, Tracer, via iTunes, Amazon, or True Panther Records, if you consider yourself a fan of chillwave, downtempo, IDM, or experimental instrumental music in general.