Evian Christ - Waterfall
Release Date: March 18, 2014
Record Label: Tri angle
It is now March 2014, so I think it's safe to say we exist in a post-Yeezus musical environment. The influence of Kanye West's last record is already starting to crop up here and there, and from here on out I have a feeling that it's only going to become more pronounced. Enter Evian Christ. Kanye West tapped into a lot of underground talent to help out with the production on his last album, including UK based producer Joshua Leary, aka Evian Christ. Leary's new EP Waterfall marks a rather drastic change from his material pre-Yeezus, and it may just point to where all those influenced by Yeezus may head next.
Joshua Leary made a name for himself in a pretty traditional way (traditional for the 2010's, at least): he anonymously uploaded some tracks to YouTube under the Evian Christ moniker, and soon they spread across the internet like wildfire. He then got signed by Tri Angle records, home to artists like Clams Casino and Holy Other. Legend has it someone from Kanye's camp heard his mixtape, Kings and Them, and reached out for beats, and Leary quickly put together some tracks and sent them over (one of which would become "I'm In It").
What separates Waterfall from Kings and Them is easy to distinguish and the role Yeezus played in shaping the sound of the EP is readily apparent. The drums hit much harder, the beats don't meander nearly as much as they did on the mixtape, and the ambient-drone is (mostly) tossed out in favor of something more industrial and dirty. "Salt Carousel" stands as Christ's best composition to date, with the kind of bare bones beat that towers over you in the way a TNGHT track does. There's a great sense of build and release, and the glitchy stop-and-start sections help to drive the track forward rather than hold it back. When compared to any track from Kings, the difference is night and day.
There are only three other tracks on the EP, and the brevity of the release works in its favor as the remaining songs offer little in the way of variation. They're all slight tweaks to the "Salt Carousel" formula, with bass heavy, minimal drum production and screeching electronics hovering over you in a constant state of free fall. "Fuck Idol" sees Leary incorporating a chopped and screwed vocal sample at one point that calls back to his techniques on Kings & Them, though it never breaks free from the grit to become fully audible, and "Propeller" is the kind of track you could easily imagine a rapper spitting over. "Waterfall" closes the EP off in an overpowering and aggressive fashion, threatening to overthrow "Salt Carousel" as the defining Evian Christ track. The unrelenting force of these songs almost becomes too much, but Waterfall is over before you know it and somehow leaves you begging for more.
Whether or not we'll get more stuff in this vein from Evian Christ remains to be seen. He seems like the kind of artist you would expect a forward thinking electronic producer to be, constantly innovating and pushing the boundaries of the sound he came up on. It would be no surprise if he didn't stay in one spot for long and his next outing changes things up even further. Or maybe this is just the beginning of a new wave of witch-house gone industrial. Either way, if Kings & Them and the G.O.O.D. Music affiliation weren't enough to get you on board with Evian Christ, Waterfall will do more than enough to make him a producer you need to keep an eye on.