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A.M. Architect

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The core of A.M. Architect’s inviting sound—laid-back, hip-hop-inflected beats paired with Fender Rhodes melodies, acoustic and electric guitar shadings, and an occasional sample—speaks volumes about its appeal. Though it may be a side project for Diego Chavez (aka Æther) and Daniel Stanush (aka Magic Note, lead guitarist for The Panic Division), there’s nothing half-assed about the dozen fresh cuts that compose The Road to the Sun. Think fifty-two minutes of warm, organic tunes succulently supplemented with pedal steel, cello, field samples, synthesizers, electric piano, and drums and you’re in the right ballpark. That there’s no “deep meaning” to be gleaned from the set isn’t a weakness either, as A.M. Architect’s lustrous set-pieces are appealing enough on their own terms to render the point moot. Check out “Albatross,” which breezily glides through a sunlit zone of stutter-funk melodies before slowing to a hazy close. Add a soul-jazz feel and sprinkle a dash of post-rock into the mix and you’re all set for dreamy fare such as “Next of Kin” and “Road to the Sun Part I.” When softly cooing female vocals ride a rhythmic wave in the track’s second part, you might find yourself reminded of the enticing vocal cuts Scott Herren occasionally works into his Prefuse 73 full-lengths—not bad company for A.M. Architect to keep. And you’ll have a tough time in this year or any year finding an instrumental hip-hop track more ravishing than “Upon,” as strong an argument for The Road to the Sun as could possibly be made. Each track bleeds almost immediately into the next, making the album feel like a strong club set where, egged on by an appreciative crowd, Chavez and Stanush can’t wait to dig into the next song the moment the previous one’s done.

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