VALE is a digital label with a judicious ear for sharp, dark sound. Often, that sound is presented through a progressive arrangement or a unique take on rhythm. The label's latest single, "Mouth Breather" from New England experimental bass producer WESSANDERS, hits on these themes like a bullseye.
Straightforward minor chords weave spiderwebs and cast shadows above spidery synthesis. The song goes through three consecutive "build-drop" sequences, with a full soundscape ducking out to reveal a pocket packed with a swelling bassline and perky percussion that shifts in time and tempo. WESSANDERS aka Kai Felsman likes to leave some space in the mix for each piece of audio to breathe. That's definitely the case with "Mouth Breather". There's enough musical elements here to make it complex, but not so many as to overwhelm. The foley sounds snap into syncopation with the infected synthesis. The bassline and drum beat interlock and project an angular groove.
The atmosphere on this cut is low-slung and spooky throughout, in the style of VALE. It's only slightly darker than the vibes WESSANDERS usually curates, and it's certainly got the same aggression that marks the rest of his catalog. To date, Kai has not released an extended or long play besides a mini-mix from around Christmas time. He clearly knows how to flex a digital audio workstation, though. The complex arrangement of the tune also signals that his familiarity with music writing may run deep. Hopefully more work from this young producer is waiting in the wings somewhere.