MORE EAZE “Mari” (Orange Milk)

There’s never a dull moment when it comes to a More Eaze tape. The Austin-based electronic composer/producer/musician has dropped some of my favorite releases when it comes to the tape game, and I’ve been covering it for a while now. So each new release is a sit-up-take-notice type of thing for me, and Mari is no exception. The semi-self-titled record by Mari Maurice, the mind behind the Eaze, twinkles with self-confidence and elfin mischief, like Pop Rocks fizzing in a ginger ale – again, a trait I’d often ascribe to More Eaze’s work.

This time, though, is a little different. I’m used to the splatter approach, where melodies and textures come at you at a breakneck pace, only to resolve themselves the more you listen to them – a result of automatic writing. This is not an unusual practice within the Orange Milk stable, but More Eaze has always been able to do this with a deftness and dexterity that allows for quick immersion and a more instantaneous gratification. For Mari, More Eaze dips a toe into the frantic world of PC Music, who specialize in a “hyperproduced” brand of pop. The comparisons aren’t immediate, as it takes until track 4 “t34rz” and track 5 “i don’t want it” to truly stack up against PC. Of course we get a stutter-start before these two with “progress in therapy,” a glitchfest featuring percussionist Claire Rousay, which turns out to be surprisingly tuneful given Rousay’s more abstract, freeform work.

Rousay isn’t the only guest on Mari – Diamondsoul makes an appearance, as does Amulets on “gender dysphoria trauma bonding.” Transitioning and identity are distinct themes throughout Mari, which celebrates More Eaze’s own transitional period. Indeed, Maurice’s voice plays a huge role, a much greater one than on previous albums, and it’s a welcome inclusion. Cloaked in effects and accompanied by a rich variety of sound sources, Maurice’s singing emerges as an element intertwined perfectly and appropriately with its surroundings. Digital meets flesh and blurs into itself throughout Mari, highlighting the impossibility of separating one from the other. I think that’s just how it’s supposed to be on this one.