In the early ’90s, as the rave fever-dream gripped Europe, people started writing lullabies to soothe it. Adam Feingold’s latest EP as Ex-Terrestrial echoes this counter-movement, falling somewhere between the proto-IDM of Warp’s Artificial Intelligence comps and the then-burgeoning chillout sound. This music styled itself as sophisticated, but its simplicity by modern standards often makes it all the more charming. Feingold, who has celebrated a different kind of ugliness on a redlining house EP for Apron, captures this contradiction. The occasional rough edges make his radiant tracks all the more beautiful.
Much of Paraworld captures techno just before it lifts off into space. The title track’s hissing hi-hats and artful congas keep one foot on Earth while rich synths tug us towards the great beyond. The chords are so serene that you sometimes wish they’d untether entirely; they do so on the beatless “Dreams Of Jupiter,” two minutes of Detroit noodling and dreamcatcher twinkles. “Aletheia” remains gravity-free for the first half, before settling into a comfortable broken-beat slouch. On brilliant closer “Blue Smoke,” another dog-eared breakbeat trudges along under a starry canopy of synths. Save for the simplest of midpoint breakdowns, the most striking event in its simple arrangement is a voice intoning, “deep… inside.” Here and elsewhere, Feingold spacewalks elegantly between retro-kitsch and straight-up gorgeous.