Local hip-hop producer Diego Chavez’s first solo outing creates a MacBook-powered soundscape that falls quietly between Handsome Boy Modeling School (minus humor) and Brian Eno (minus sleepiness). After the first two tracks I gave up on waiting for Chavez to treat the special guest vocals as anything other than another instrument.
Aether chooses to showcase his own talent for turning lo-fi samples into a well-mixed wall of sound instead of relying on name-dropping to move you. Even though much of Artifacts is nearly ambient, the tracks are enthralling, if not quite danceable, like that quiet you feel right before a storm. Artifacts is the perfect album for driving in the heavy rains sure to hit us in a few months. For a good intro, download his remix of Lykke Li’s “Little Bit” (not on Artifacts), or try Artifacts’ “Orfeu Negro.”