EP Review: Eye-C Phones Home With “Long Distant Calls“
Coming back from the cosmic journey that was their last album, “E”, Eye-C has just returned to make another connection with their newest EP, “Long Distant Calls”. Creative duo That Guy and DJ Fathouse come back with more imaginative themes and musical experimentation.
“Pay Phone” starts everything off. A quintessential Eye-C ambiance track, “Pay Phone” begins to tell the EP’s story in an abstract mix of sound. A car door opening and closing, footsteps on a lonely side road, and coins being dropped into a payphone. The opening question, “Hello, is Jerry there?”, is answered by three beeps and an intercept message indicating that he is not. “Pay Phone” is a simple contentless scene. Although there doesn’t seem to be anything going on musically, this track sets the stage for what’s to come. A nod to their previous album, Eye-C stays true to the idea of opening their stories with the listener’s imagination taking over. Their ambiance tracks are definitely one of the group’s signatures, allowing the listener to place themselves in the right setting for what’s to come, without any preconceived notions about what the music is going to sound like just yet.
The beginning moments of “High Maintenance” resonate with all the aspects we know and love from Eye-C’s past material. Building as more winning elements are added as it progresses, the synth intro is a little spacey, a little funky, and leads right into That Guy’s raspy, drawly rap style. About 45 seconds in, there’s a funky twinge and the introduction of a modern beat which takes this track to the next level, kicking the tempo up a notch. A surprise highlight of “High Maintenance” is DJ Fathouse. Besides his unique mixing, here we hear the soundscape composer contribute to the lyrical side of the music. Although it’s just for a brief verse, it works extremely well as his lyrical and vocal styles compliment That Guy’s seamlessly, making this an even better track than before. Lyrically, “High Maintenance” lets you know that Eye-C’s going nowhere but up, and they have no time to waste.
“Elephant Tusk” starts very softly; it feels uncertain and and unsteady with That Guy quietly posing the question of “Who can I trust?”. As the track progresses, it turns into having a more old-school hip hop vibe, which is interesting to hear from this group, but quite refreshing. Eye-C glides through time and space with this track’s 1990s-esque chorus, which is one of the best parts of this song- along with the theme. Although still told from an alienated viewpoint, “Elephant Tusk” discusses the very real, very human issue of gaining traction and success but suddenly struggling to maintain your footing and knowing who’s actually going to be there for you.
“Deep” is almost like a continuation of “Elephant Tusk”; an image of change, a story of getting lost and trying not to get lost. Carrying on the old school sound and showcasing it with the EP’s strongest rap verses and a more fluid rhyme scheme. Rhythm and tempo constantly alternate throughout this two and a half minute track, but it ends quietly, fading out just like the EP’s beginning.
“Long Distant Calls” is a strong evolution. Although it is very interesting to listen to this EP immediately after “E” to elongate the sensory experience, there is no doubt “Long Distant Calls” can stand on its own. It’s more down-to-earth than “E”, making the listener feel like they are no longer up in space, but somewhere more like the Midwest US portion of Earth where our poets are located. However, what’s special about it is that it doesn’t lose the air of mystery or any of the curiosity we previously picked up from Eye-C. While staying true with what they started with, Eye-C crafts “Long Distant Calls” as a shift in location with the addition of new experiences. Experimenting and witching it up between ambiance tracks, old school hip hop, space pop, trip hop, and everything in between, this EP, a fantastic concept in of itself, feels like the musical equivalent of “ET phone home”. That Guy and DJ Fathouse are still the spacemen gone awry, but they’re back on our planet again. This time around, however, they have a new viewpoint. They’re a little less curious and a little more cynical, and it’s easier for them to see what’s in and what’s out of this world.
"Long Distant Calls" is out now and available for streaming on all major platforms.