Yes, the moment I have been waiting for: a summer-ready electronic EP that has the honor of making its way into my car stereo. The new addition is Sidetracked from 17-year-old ambient, trip hop, indie electronica, whatever-genre-you-want-to-file-it-as producer Brooks Brown. Just picture Justin Bieber’s way cooler, low-key electronic producer cousin whose parties are still the raddest Justin has ever been to, and you’ve got somewhat of an idea of the talent we’re talking about here.
The title track, featuring trip hop artist Madi Walsh, has whirling builds iced with elegant drops and even cleaner synth. “Sidetracked” is beautifully eruptive. The sensual melodies are eyes-closing, one-sided-grinning good. To say Walsh’s vocals are mature for her sixteen-year old self would be an embarrassing understatement.
“Countdown” begins like your ears need to pop–a dazed, slow motion feeling. Hand clapping breaks up the blurriness and builds anticipation for what is ecstasy in electronic drop form. It dips down into something just as ambient, continuing to get heavier, fatter, thicker. Between sharp synth and carnival ride twinkling, I imagined a clip from a college-version Project X: a hotel party’s slow-motion pillow fight with feathers flying, champagne flowing in red solo cups, the whole bit.
If “Countdown” is the party banger track, then “Lights Out” is the 4 a.m. buzzy trance song that appears at the same time as the early morning dew. It has patient builds that take their time, and with Brown’s casually flirtatious lyrics like, “Baby girl, I’m in my zone/Come get next to me,” it’s a steamy track that doesn’t try too hard.
Continuing along this sonic nighttime-into-morning journey, “Awake” is a slow-to-rise track, playing like an alarm set to meditation music. It’s the type of song you smoke, shower, and brew something to. Mellow electronic texturing and a care-free, feel-good buzz makes this the smoothest on Sidetracked.
After listening to Sidetracked my only question is: Brooks Brown, where can I get this on vinyl? This deserves more than the personal nightclub that is my car stereo. Brown’s EP is effortlessly, enchantingly explosive, adding so many electronic elements that it would be silly to categorize it when you could spend that whole time enjoying four dynamite tracks. —Rachel Haney