By Kaleem Khan, January 8 2015 —
Calgary musician Bryce Maruk, known as Orthicon, released his debut EP, Boundary, in fall 2014.
Effortlessly weaving complex bass-lines, reverb-drenched guitars and drowned-out synths, Maruk resembles a goth-inspired James Blake.
On the surface, these tracks use tight orchestration and seductive vocals, reflecting a project dictated by experience and desire.
Boundary opens with “Stranger One,” a track that leads in with a shadowy kalimba and gradually adding claps that culminate in bleeding synth melodies and multi-layered vocals. It’s clear that Maruk is a classically trained musician, as the track transitions through calculated musical sections before closing with an impressive multi-tracked vocal chorus.
The album’s title, Boundary, refers to sexual exploration, furthered by the bondage featured in the album art. “Primary Partnership” illustrates this theme most strongly (“You should know that I’m inexperienced / And I know that he thinks he’s cool with this”), suggesting themes of uncertainty in new sexual experiences. The brilliance of the album is its unrelenting exploration of boundaries both, musical and sexual.
For a debut release, Boundary is powerful in structure and content, revealing a depth that is rare for first releases. With five tracks that only run 20 minutes, the EP skillfully explores themes that might typically be reserved for a full length LP. Skill in musical composition and tasteful production only enhance the core of the project.
A powerful release, Boundary is a well-crafted EP that pushes many boundaries of its own.