8 Aug 2020
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Eli Moore - EP Review: Home Skillet

29 Jul 2020 // A review by Callum Wagstaff

In 2017 Eli Moore released his first full length album. Ship Life revolved around his experience as a cruise ship musician and referenced his appreciation of the harmonies and forms of jazz music within a classic pop context. Cutting to 2020, lockdown provided a veiled opportunity for Moore to turn his attention away from the dense compositions and big band approach of Ship Life to the bedroom production and 90's Hip-Hop influence that would bring us Home Skillet.

Home Skillet takes Moore's love of jazz conventions and samples them into an overcast bedroom pop song called The Thought. He forges a misty atmosphere that meets where lo-fi beats and film noir cross over, only to yank us into the parody Hip-Hop stylings of Catholic Playah.

RnB
leaning tracks like Simple Love return to a more classic soul vibe and Babe, You Should Be with 
Me makes use of Moore's well felt out piano playing.

The Thought particularly stands out with its perfectly placed sax part, played deftly by John Salzano. Every time I finish Home Skillet I go back to the start just to hear The Thought one more time. I often end up just playing the whole EP through again. Babe, You Should Be with Me is more of a throwback but maintains some of the same atmosphere and shelter that The Thought began, with an extra little note of pensiveness.

Simple Love brings us back up to the latter part of the 20th century vibe and some of the synths in their orchestral arrangements feel like classic Massive Attack sounding territory, which is always a welcome surprise. Final track Tîi Rák visits bedroom pop in a way reminiscent of fellow Kiwi artist Pickle Darling, soft, endearing and stress alleviating.

As a part of the whole EP, Catholic Playah feels like a crowbar to the face, but in a vacuum it's great fun and showcases Moore's genuine love for the styles he explores. The parodic bent of the song feels like an indication of Moore's discomfort with some of the credo and conventions of Hip-Hop culture. Even in a joke song he covers his tracks, reminding us "If I'm narcissistic it's a tribute to the form" with a clever and catchy syllabic tense that shows he has a genuine knack for the genre. I'd really like to see what it would sound like if he shed the shackles of 90's bravado parody and produced something closer to the style of Common or Lupe Fiasco that might sit within Home Skillet more comfortably.

Home Skillet finds a reflective and introspective space that heavily influences any room you play it in. It makes anywhere feel like a warm bedroom on a rainy day.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )
 

About Eli Moore

Eli Moore is a producer and songwriter. Known mostly for his skill as a pianist, Eli has taken his ability to play almost anything and everything by ear and sight around the world, working in show bands aboard cruise ships. An avid lover of classic pop music since young, tertiary studies in jazz made Eli more aware of interesting harmony, form and composition, all of which has found it's way into his music.

Home Skillet is a five song offering of lofi warmth and 90's influenced urban music styles. Taking cues from classic producers such as Teddy Riley (Michael Jackson), Babyface (Bobby Brown) and Q-Tip (A Tribe Called Quest), among others, Eli delivers crisp, intentional songwriting in a 90's throwback aesthetic. Seeing how far he could take the ‘bedroom producer’ role, the record has him span across the styles of hip hop, new jack swing, RnB and pop, subverting the typical content of each with his own lyrical character. Now a self-sufficient one-man-band-in-a-box, Eli is already at work on his next musical output from lockdown on the family farm in Kaitaia, New Zealand.

Ship Life is a musical self-portrait, framed as a narrative of his time as a working musician aboard cruise ships. Spanning styles and influences to relate themes of displacement, love, loss and travel, it draws most deeply from a love for the singer-songwriters, super-producers and musician’s musicians of the 70’s.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Eli Moore

Releases

Home Skillet
Year: 2020
Type: EP
Ship Life
Year: 2017
Type: Album

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