EP Review: Fyfe and Iskra Strings – EP 1

EP Review: Fyfe and Iskra Strings - EP 1
  • EP Review: Fyfe and Iskra Strings - EP 1 - 7/10
    7/10

Summary

EP 1 melds classical overtones with hip hop inspired production and some synth heavy percussion generating a grand, filmic quality.

7/10
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Fyfe is the current moniker of Paul Dixon, who previously traded under the name of David’s Lyre.The multi-instrumentalist has teamed up with Iskra Strings to put together EP 1, a six track affair that melds classical overtones with hip hop inspired production and some synth heavy percussion. There is a grand filmic quality at work in this record, particularly on the instrumental numbers which feel as though they would be perfect accompaniment for a wildlife documentary. Their haunting sounds and expansive palette would provide a fitting backdrop for David Attenborough’s hushed tones to warn of impending ecological disaster.

Foundation opens up with some elongated string notes which are accompanied by the gentle build up of percussive sounds. When the drums do drop in fully they have the echoic sound of a stripped down trap beat. Such an influence is also discernible on Hold Us Down with a vocal chant of ‘woo’ incorporated into the structure of the song’s rhythm. The central synth line, when laid down under the vocals the accompanying strings makes the song feel as if it has too many competing elements at times. The interaction of pretty fast strings segueing into a final piano part with vocals does work well though, providing a measured finish to the song.

Spectrum is structured around a central almost mournful string part. There is a slight feel of uneasiness to this instrumental piece. It is much sparser than the preceding tracks which allows everything a little more space to breathe. The fusion of stripped back classical and hip hop influences is brought off well here. The Prelude to Love Hurts comes in with dominant synth stabs that give way to large sounding, kick heavy drums and the string motif that informs the subsequent song.  Love Hurts is the second track to include vocals from Fyfe. It has a darker air to it, with the accompaniment drawing on synthwave in parts and the lyrics looking at the less stable elements of attraction, “strip away my reason, eradicate my demons.”

Peaks is aptly named as the sweeping tone of it’s sound is evocative of looking out over a rugged mountainous landscape. The introductory bars sound ever so slightly as if they are echoing the sounds of throat singing. The strings ascend gradually building up over a swirling background before reaching a rather abrupt conclusion on reverberating notes. Two, One Four leads in with isolated piano chords and very light backing noise. There are some piercing notes that pick out a minimal melody. This track is bordering on an ambient approach with slight choral sounding flourishes and light strings which punctuate the atmosphere rather than take centre stage. It is a powerful way way to round off the EP, demonstrating an ear for minimal, yet highly effective orchestration.

The best elements of this EP don’t actually need the addition of vocals. If anything the two tracks that do have vocal elements can feel a little too busy at times. However where the EP hits the mark is when allowing differing styles to interact unhindered by too many parts. There is a starkness to the sonic makeup of these tracks that is both arresting and at times quite beautiful.

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