E.P. REVIEW: Tides and… by Blue MOON Science

Allan Vilhan is an award-winning composer/producer and musician, originally born in Slovakia and relocating to London in the early 2000’s. After joining ACM Records in 2004 he found public and critical acclaim following the release of his track Sol Naciente, which took first prize in the Electronica category of the International Songwriting Competition. An album, Alchemy, also received plaudits and prizes. In 2017, he re-emerged under the moniker Likvid which dealt with dark, atmospheric soundscapes. His most recent musical incarnation as Blue MOON Science finds Vilhan exploring the EDM genre with a group of global vocalist collaborators. 2022 has already seen the release of the hugely popular track Get Up Now.

This EP, Tides and…., consists of six tracks and opens with the exotic RnB track Step Aside. It features the lead vocal talents of Alyssa Jane, who gives an alluring and seductive performance over an intricate musical backdrop. Her distinctive voice is enriched by a harmony vocal running through much of the lead melody to great effect. Lyrically, it captures the emotional turmoil of someone breaking out of a bad relationship: “You cannot break me, you cannot tame me, you cannot wrap me up in that hazy place….”.
A fine cameo rap performance from Guyku also adds extra flavour to a killer track that could well become a global hit.

Second song Endless Game keeps the bar just as high, a moody electro pop/ trip hop track with a pumping beat and brooding, pulsing bassline. In certain aspects of its vibe and production it brought to mind trip hop artists like Portishead and Massive Attack from the 90’s era. The way the arrangement ebbs and flows is skilfully done, the build ups and breakdowns creating constant momentum and dynamic shifts. It also has a languid groove and a distinct party vibe that makes it a strong candidate for a late summer smash in the clubs.

While the first two tracks feature lyrics in English, with the third track Vidina (feat. LOTTA), the words are in Allan’s native language of Slovak. His vocal collaborator LOTTA (who wrote the lyrics) gives a captivating performance, her singing full of charisma and conviction. Musically, it also expands beyond the usual, fusing drum and bass rhythms with an exotic EDM style to create a unique piece of electronica that’s not like anything else I’ve ever heard. While still commercial sounding and catchy, this original merging of musical styles and linguistic culture is where Vilhan really shines.

When I Am Alone is different again, whilst retaining enough similar elements to ensure a sonic coherence and cohesion. This one features the ethereal, Lana Del Rey-style voice of Nico Frost, also bringing to mind Liz Frazer from the Cocteau Twins. Lyrically, it is a heartfelt expression of insecurity over a sense of self and personal identity: “Ooh whenever I think I’ve found myself I always fall back down,
all the castles I have built turn into pieces of floating dust.”
Special mention should go to the luscious vocal harmony arrangement and the superb production as a whole.

Time is Now, featuring vocals this time from Chloe Kay, is the EP’s most radical and experimental track, merging Kate Bush-style mysticism with hard hitting DnB beats. It’s a rollercoaster ride of a track with a sonic surprise round every corner. Lyrically, it’s about the struggle to stay positive when you’re chasing a dream: “Still believing, what I want’s just out of reach, blood, sweat and tears but it’s a brand new day….”.

Final track Step Aside II (Honey) is like a sequel to the EP’s opener. At a similar tempo and containing striking rapid fire hi-hats once again, it’s otherwise a very different kind of track. Set to a sensual groove, the vocals have a similarly sexy quality, the subtle low end guitar once again bringing to mind the West Coast vibe of Lana Del Rey. Providing the earthy yang to the opening track’s yin, it completes the EP in fine style.

Overall, the six tracks on Tides and… capture Allan Vilhan’s gifts as songwriter and producer in this particular genre. It also allows a variety of gifted female vocalists from around the globe to contribute (not forgetting the rap skills of Guyku) and the result is finely crafted electronica tracks that incorporate sub genres like house, trance, trip hop and even drum ‘n bass into the musical melting pot. With strong commercial appeal and a largely radio friendly sound, Blue MOON Science could become a real heavyweight and major success in the global EDM scene.

VERDICT = 9.1 out of 10

Alex Faulkner

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