Faex Optim – Look Around You

Faex OptimWesley MacDonald has suffered more than his share of comparisons to fellow-Scottish downtempo artists Boards of Canada. It’s a connection that has as much (if not more) to do with the fact both call Edinburgh home than it does with a proper musical comparison.

Sure, they both make easy-to-listen-to electronic music with a generous sampling of spoken words. But if every artist in the world employing those techniques is a BOC tribute, then by all means, compare me to Lester Bangs. After all, he used words to describe music too.

Faex Optim’s new album Look Around You is his fourth since dedicating himself to electronic music in 2014. It’s a charmingly lo-fi effort packed with solid hooks and rich, laidback beats.

“Mist Connections” and “Obelisk” are two highlights. Rooted firmly in the synth pop tradition, neither feels like a throwback. MacDonald’s beats deliver the album genuine currency. The juxtaposition between the two elements works beautifully.

MacDonald has a new project on the horizon. He’s partnering with PBS’73 on a new label called Magic Square Records. A quick quote from his Facebook page: “The intention is to use this as a platform to release our own music only, at least in the initial period … Our first release will be the new PBS ’73 album Yesterday Network, which will drop on 21st July.

Looking forward to that one.

Kevin Press

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