Surfacer, the new EP by Boston, MA based Premises present a big tent approach to electronic music that marries mathy apreggios, layered breakbeats and organic percussion with strong melodic pop sensibilities and ambient shadings. Premises long reach delivers on the promises that bands like Arms & Sleepers, DNTEL and The American Dollar started 10 + years ago. Those moments when swirling synth arpeggios, deeply layered percussion and hidden instrumental melodies by Dylan Ganz coalesce behind the gut-punch of a swelling chorus by multi-instrumentalist / singer Timothy Stefaniak.
While indebted to ornate guitar arrangements made popular by bands like Piglet, Tera Melos and Toe, Surfacer reaches beyond any kind of Math Rock trappings by weaving in a room full of synths and electronic percussive elements that recall some of the more thrilling moments of emotional electronic composers To Rococo Rot and Styrofoam – innovators who melded IDM with heartfelt songwriting.
Tracks like the excellent “Still Life” hold pianos and guitars in perfect tension with skittering breakbeats, throbbing bass lines and a complex array of synth melodies that bob and weave – creating ghostly melodic fragments before being pulled into an intersecting section only to appear in another form later in the track. Stefaniak’s poignant and direct lyrics give voice to what would otherwise be a nameless emotion running throughout the composition. A deep longing propelled forward by the sheer catharsis of release. Impressive work.