Apparently someone had to come all the way from Puerto Rico just to teach Pittsburgh how to do proper downtempo IDM in the manner of Boards of Canada, Scotland's Warp Records pioneers. Because that's exactly what happened. When Andres Ortiz-Ferrari touched down here from San Juan in 2001, he originally had a solo project called Eko Farm. After combining forces last year with Evan Wood, who also sings, plays guitar and saxophone, the duo Discuss was born.
Discuss has never been mentioned in the local media, which isn't surprising, since its shows to date have been small, underground affairs. But the disc it unveiled this year -- home-recorded and self-released in a slipcase with Dadaist cover art by Ortiz-Ferrari himself -- certainly deserves more attention.
From the ethereal atmospheres on "One For the Kawai" (which could appear seamlessly on the Echoes radio program) to the foregrounded synth melodies and ghostly vocals on tracks like "I Wish I Were A Marsupial" and "We've Lost Time," the influence of Boards of Canada's semi-ambient "spectralist" take on the IDM genre is pervasive and unmistakable.
Thickly layered material with punchy hip-hop beats and delay-drenched sax, such as "Perdido," also shows the duo's familiarity with respected producers like Amon Tobin and Diplo. "Bubbles and Swings" is another standout with intentional glitches, a bass-guitar thread, and a skittery rhythm that keeps gradually shifting. Almost all the tracks have something to recommend them, making the debut by Discuss one of great promise; now it just needs to get a city full of classic rockers and mallrats to sit down and take a good listen.