Branden Antoine - PHOTOREALISTIC - Stereo Stickman



Florida producer Branden Antoine crafts intricate, ambient soundscapes throughout this immersive, emotional and hypnotic new EP. The collection offers six original compositions, each one defiantly rooted amidst a specific and intriguing set of ideas, with the completed playlist making for a brief yet striking place to escape into.

Inspired by film and music alike, Antoine visualises the bigger scenes and movies this project could accompany, and it’s clear from the cinematic detail and imaginative changes across each piece that this is precisely where the music would be well-suited. For the listener, the mind wanders freely, the music supporting and enhancing this experience of inner peace and contemplation.

Impressively eclectic, the project keeps the listener engaged and fascinated throughout. The opener Eileen acts as a delicate, awakening piece, where the follower Decompression Sickness provides a lo-fi rhythm and depth that contrasts brilliantly – a completely different mood, pace, and indeed story.

Blade Running follows and effectively blends the two approaches but simultaneously veers off in a creatively fresh direction once again. Soothing layers of synth and melody unite with a dense and compressed rhythm for an upfront groove that’s as dreamlike as it is softly energising.

With Grief, things vary once again, the title conjuring up emotional possibilities and the opening chord progression furthering this to a powerful extent. Bring in heavy distortion, the weight of fuzz and fierce injections of sci-fi-like uncertainty, and the composition soon lays bare its unique creative make-up; complete with fragments of voice both softly haunting and decidedly melancholic.

Courson, Pamela is emotional again, but it’s all relative – there’s optimism or calm to the opening moments, then a certain heart-breaking difficulty; if that’s where your mind might be. Delicate waves of synth and contrastingly rhythmic notes create a sort of dancing arena of audio detail, not unlike the lights of various colours flashing along the horizon as you drive. The melody is soothing, seeming a little unfinished even as the sub-one-minute piece reaches its climax, but still the tune and the mood linger with you.

Maya follows with a mighty level of juxtaposition and brings things to an interesting end. Meandering, cascading retro riffs, gamer-like in their yesteryear electronic tones, rain down atop a bass-thick beat and wash of psychedelic warmth. There’s fuzz once again to the production, an electronic intensity that’s subtle but distinct as it prompts interest in the underlying intentions; what inspired this piece, and how that initial influence connects with the way it makes the listener feel.

Six compositions, each one under two minutes in length – a taste of the possibilities ahead, that Antoine’s catalogue may soon be richly populated with. Beautifully crafted, familiar yet interesting – relevant to a broader audience and multiple potential storylines, yet also profoundly consuming in and of themselves. While PHOTOREALISTIC works purely and easily within this singular setting, the direction Antoine is heading in undoubtedly promises a world of audio-visual escapism to look forward to in the coming years. One to look out for.

Download PHOTOREALISTIC via Bandcamp.

Rebecca Cullen

Founder & Editor

Founder, Editor, Musician & MA Songwriter

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