Arts Desk

One Track Mind: M.O.T.M., “Aracari”

M.O.T.M.Standout Track: No. 1, “Aracari,” whose tropical dance groove evokes exotic beaches and rushing waves. Scant drums and bird sounds give way to a rising kalimba and pneumatic vocals—both sail gently throughout—providing an aerial take on sunshine and warm breezes. It’s the A-side of a new EP from M.O.T.M., the Columbia Heights production duo of Gavin Holland and Chris Burns.

Musical Motivation: Initially, the duo wanted to use an old-school African sample from a rare record for the vocals. When the cut proved out-of-key, they asked singer Jane to provide original lyrics for the upbeat track. “She’s super high-pitched and kind of dreamy sounding,” Holland says. “Really changed the mood of the song.” But don’t expect too many bright moments on the EP. Holland calls the other tunes “weirder, slower, and darker.” “Sloppy Seconds,” one of the B-side tracks, is a patchwork blend of down-tempo synthesizers and sporadic wails.

Back to Basics: M.O.T.M. stands for Mysteries of the Mind in this context, but the acronym is also the name of an analog synthesizer system, which Holland calls a “happy coincidence.” Holland and Burns, like an increasing number of today’s EDM producers, have forgone digital technology in favor of more traditional equipment for a lo-fi sound. “It’s less harsh to the ear,” Holland says of the result. “We’re running things through an analog console,” Burns continues. “As a result, everything is a lot deeper, warmer, and wider. We like using the older way.”

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