It was quite difficult to categorize this EP, but it also seemed like it wasn’t really necessary to do so either. Released at the tail end of October through Disintegration State, Jermainesoul’s latest EP Onerism is a textural playground of lush, spacey pads juxtaposed with speedy yet smooth rhythms that creates an experience that lies somewhere in between ambient, house, drum & bass, and downtempo electronica. The result of this blending of genres is extremely enjoyable and gives the sensation this we are listening to a soundtrack or score to a movie that hasn’t been made.
The album is focused mainly on the creation of slightly uncomfortable spaces through the use of lush pads with just a touch of overdrive that increases and decreases throughout. However, Jermainesoul is also quite proficient at creating some complex rhythms that are reminiscent of other genres such as house or drum & bass. A prime example of this can be heard on The Mimic, a track that opens with an overdriven pad but is quickly joined by a rapid pulse of a kick drum and then all manner of percussion to keep a solid yet intricate rhythm. Likewise, Whisperers gives us a spacey and ethereal pad combined with a slightly spastic breakbeat inspired rhythm that seems to dip in and out while never fully disappearing from the mix.
For the tracks that lack percussion, they are marked by consistent arpeggiated melodies that can be heard clearly on both Evolution Paradox and the aptly titled Spinning. Both tracks make use of these arpeggiated lines to create a definite sense of movement that distorts the listener’s perception of tempo as they tend towards sound faster than they actually are. For me, this effect created an intriguing experience that gives them a chill-out type of quality while also probably being just as appropriate for the end credits of a modern sci-fi thriller. Coda seemed to be the track that stood apart from this as it relies on the lush and intimate pad as the backdrop for a difficult to describe noise that swells as the track reaches its zenith only to disappear completely at the end and leave us with only the pad once more.
Onerism is an interesting experience. Even with multiple listens through this EP, I was still able to pick out elements I hadn’t heard the first or second time. The sounds are incredibly well crafted and layered in such a way that it requires some intentioned listening in order to pick them apart. Overall, a unique and rewarding experience that gives about as much ear candy as the listener can handle without overwhelming.