I first got turned on to Xela thanks to his excellent remixes for Machine Drum and Metamatics. Last year saw the release of The Dead Sea, a short, somewhat abstract release on Xela’s own Type Records. This year brings a reissue of Xela’s debut album, originally issued four years ago on the now-defunct Neo Ouija label.
The first track, “Afraid of Monsters,” sets the tone in classic IDM style. A gentle melody intertwines with Crunch-style clicks and beautifully booming bass. “Japanese Whispers” is heavy on short vocal samples, and even features a scratch or two. “An Abandoned Robot” is more abstract, with long distorted tones over metallic echoes. “Digital Winter” is even more experimental, with feedback like a dying DAC.
This is a very digital-sounding album, yet it manages to remain warm and emotional. On “Last Breath,” the ghost of a jazz tune melts away with heavy processing. For Frosty Mornings… is a glitchy, melodic classic.