Title: Between Waves
Release Date: June 18, 2013
Shortcircles is the moniker of Oakland resident Matthew Tammariello. After tinkering around with beats ever since he got his hands on a pirated computer program back in middle school, Tammariello began seriously pursuing production towards the end of his college years, debuting as Shortcircles in March of 2011 with a free EP for the local blog/net-label Mapzzz (ran by Oakland electronic music enthusiast and XLR8R staff writer Glenn Jackson). Tammariello’s initial efforts as Shortcircles took shape as pieces of instrumental bliss-hop—dreamy tracks which placed cool chords, chopped vocal samples, and sparsely poignant melodies atop mid-tempo hip-hop beats. In the time since, Tammariello’s productions have evolved and matured into more lush and distinctive sonic territory, as heard on his two EPs for Plug Research in 2012 and a handful remixes that have appeared all over the web in the past two years.
Now, Tammariello is ready to make his mark with his debut LP, Between Waves, out this May. Without a doubt his most introspective and ambitious release to date, the 10-track record is an immersive musical experience, one which takes its listeners deep beneath the airy textures and moody chords that lie at the base of Tammarielo’s songcraft and reveals a vast world of auditory wonders. Between Waves takes its share of twists and turns throughout its run, hitting on moments of shimmering ambience, soul-tinged electronic pop, and somehow jazzy-yet-futuristic hip-hop along they way.
Depending where the listener finds themselves in the record, they may hear echoes of Bonobo-style beatwork (“Tunnels”), come across piano-led slow jams (“Smiles”), or be coyly beckoned by Shortcircles’ lush, inviting brand of future-R&B (“On My Mind”). Through it all though, Tammariello finds a cohesive fabric in his knack for rich, angelic textures and subtly enthralling arrangements, all of which work to render the LP a profoundly inviting affair.
Fitting a handful of vocal collaborations amongst the tracklist—not to mention saxophone solos, live drums, chopped guitar, and, of course, a bevy of arpeggiated synth lines and repurposed samples—Between Waves is a debut album that reveals Shortcircles as a truly multi-faceted talent. In an era of electronic music that seems to find so many young producers reaching too eagerly towards flash-in-the-pan trends or dancefloor fame, Tammarielo is content to build patient productions that invite reflection as they carefully open up onto unexplored sonic worlds.