Cindy Li is one of the busiest promoters in Toronto. Among other parties, she puts on Work In Progress, an event series and radio show that highlights dance music made by female-identifying artists. Spending years spinning opening slots has allowed her to develop a DJ style that favours dreamy melodies, twitchy drums and exquisite synths. Finding a middle ground between electro and progressive house, she’s taken that style to producing. Her first release, which lands on Shanti Celeste’s Peach Discs label, bursts with the pastel colours and bouncy rhythms of her DJ sets.
“Elevate (Go Off Mix),” which first appeared as an unsigned upload on SoundCloud, is the pick of the litter. If any track gets to the core of Li’s musical tastes, it’s this one. There are snappy drums, rapturous synths and a piano line that almost turns the track into a puddle of schmaltz, but it’s so uplifting that it’s hard not to get carried away. On “Electrical Encounters,” she explores melancholic electro. Li reaches across the country to Vancouver on “Rain Dance,” which takes inspiration from the city with laid-back chords and a humid atmosphere while keeping her sputtering percussive patterns. Electrical Encounters is a stellar debut that shows that, even if Vancouver and Montreal are the dominant Canadian scenes, Toronto has a lot to say.