free download: ‘mid-city island’ ep – discover why everyone’s talking about moses sumney #soundcheck

April 11, 2014

When digital recording became a thing that anyone could do at home on their laptop for little to no money, a generation of indie musicians looked at their 4-track tape decks and declared “finally! Now I don’t have to deal with this thing anymore.” But there’s a legacy of incredible music made on 4-track cassette, and the format forces you to think about music in a deliberate way that’s been all but forgotten lately. In the process of making his Mid-City Island EP, singer/songwriter Moses Sumney went back to the 4-track, and the results are a study in beautiful minimalism.

By Nathan Leigh, AFROPUNK Contributor

There aren’t a whole lot of people who can survive accompanied by just an electric guitar. The instrument was invented to play in larger ensembles, and pretty much only Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Jeff Buckley have made it work as a solo instrument. But accompanied by just his own multi-tracked and warped voice, and a finger picked electric, Moses Sumney’s music feels rich and full in a way that almost defies logic. “Man On the Moon” layers hushed vocals on top of a hushed solo guitar. It’s lush and haunting; equal parts sparse and rich.

On “Mumblin’,” Sumney captures the vocal looping from his live set. It builds from a minimal loop to a cacophony of Moses Sumney’s overdriving the tape. But the gem of this EP is the minimal “Plastic.” The focus is squarely on Sumney and his guitar, showcasing not just his otherwordly voice, but his lyrical gifts. “Can I tell you a secret? My wings are made of plastic.”

If more indie musicians could rediscover the tools that once forced them to make unique and inventive choices, the music scene would be a much more interesting place. For now, we’ve got Moses Sumney leading the charge. The EP is free to download through Soundcloud (scroll down the page to download tracks).