Hard hitting rhythms, heavy driving bass lines, stark evocative melodies, dynamic textures, and how each one of these elements influences and interacts with one another, are what make up the basis for >’s dense and dramatic sound.
Made with a modified Game Boy >’s connections to 80’s video games are inevitable. But when the first bass line drops, it’s clear that this music is not concerned with nostalgia. When exploited, the Game Boys’ primitive processors’ limited resources start to become audibly apparent, adding a savage vitality to the sound it produces. This primal pulse is evident in the under-clocked, overweight bass line that lurches through “Rolling Thunder.” And the rasp-like quality of the 4-bit drum samples in “Silent Ritual,” whose origins have been reduced to crude approximations, become harsh silhouettes of the sounds they once were.
These indulgent flaws give this EP the tarnished patina its unrelenting rhythms require. But it’s the vulnerability of these imperfections that allows > to be so expressive. “In Broad Daylight,” the battery starved arpeggio builds until it blows like a tea kettle whistle. Its low-riding bass line and anthemic chord stabs are punctuated by violent drums that feel more like a beat-down than a break-beat. Midway through, the mood shifts, the tempo drops, and the sparse 1/2 time groove that remains propels a seductive melody upwards until it finally boils over and evaporates as the track slowly grinds to a halt.
Sonic character plays a big role in defining >, but it is ultimately the underlying musical diversity that resonates deepest. From the Mid East Dancehall in “Silent Ritual” to the quasi-classical riffs in “Tigers Blood” to the AM R&B on “Over Easy,” there is an adventurous quality throughout > that both solidifies and expands one’s expectations as the songs build upon themselves, creating a connected whole that is indeed greater than the sum of its parts.