EPHEMERA

Jim-E Stack

EPHEMERA

Jim-E Stack’s signature as a producer is subtle—a smidgen of distortion here, a super-saturated synth chord there, some beefy ’80s toms for good measure—but it’s versatile enough to suit a wide variety of artists. The San Francisco native’s credits include records for electro-folkie Bon Iver, UK rapper Octavian, and synth-pop singer Kacy Hill, all of whom return the favor with features on EPHEMERA, his second album. Stack’s drums here have a similar heft to the club-destined breakbeats of his debut album, 2014’s Tell Me I Belong, but it’s his synths that constitute the music’s true center of gravity. Empress Of’s inspirational, gently processed vocals embellish the gleaming keys of “Note to Self,” the kind of song you want to start your day with; Justin Vernon’s Auto-Tuned falsetto draws electric streaks against the overdriven chords of “Jeanie.” There’s a hint of déjà vu hiding inside virtually every song, whether it’s the yacht-rock guitars of “Sweet Summer Sweat” or the subliminal slap bass of “Good Enough”; these are songs that you feel like you’ve known forever, yet at the same time they feel spine-tinglingly fresh—like little glimpses of the future embedded in a cherished memory.

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