Kid Koala’s return, Music To Draw To: Satellite delves deep into a sonorous ambient groove and doesn’t so much grab the listener but lulls them in with a mixture of instrumental and vocal tracks. The eponymous opener, ‘The Observable Universe’ is a tranquil slice of trip-hop and is ably followed by ‘Adrift’ which offers a slave like beat combined with the laid-back vocal styling of Emilíana Torrini. She adds silky smoothness and further nuance to this collection of songs, most notably on the track ‘Collapser’. Emiliana’s vocals wrap themselves around an arpeggiated sequence creating one of the stand out songs on the album.
The deep slow bass of ‘Beneath the Heat’ opens up onto a lyrical landscape of swirling smoke and the longing for someone just out of reach reminding the listener of the fragility of relationships and the hurt they can sometimes bring.
The instrumental triptych ‘Transmission 1’, ‘Transmission 2’ and ‘Transmission 3’ are multi-layered and textured adding a Kraftwerk flavour to proceedings further beckoning the listener to become even more immersed in the aural experience. ‘Perihelion’ has a gorgeous melody that soars ever so briefly but effectively. ‘Photons’ has a simplistic and playful quality and ‘Nightfall’ follows it up with a guitar that aches ever so sweetly over a gentle electronica sweep.
‘Satellite’ deals with a lost lover lamenting an “…absence…[that]…eclipses all the light from my sight”. The contrast between the digital soundscape and the human voice in this song, and throughout the album, highlights the theme of disconnection most effectively. Closer ‘Nightfall Pale Blue’ has a hauntingly subtle guitar and beautifully gentle vocal that grounds the fantastic flight the listener has been on and brings them back to reality.
At its best Music To Draw To: Satellite is reminiscent of early Aphex Twin and proves that there is plenty of life left in the trip-hop genre. This is an album for late night listening and for when you want the party to drift into the mellowness of the coming dawn.