After his diverse yet cohesive 2013 album The Waiting Room, Jeff McIlwain, better known as Lusine, is back with a more tightly focused EP. McIwain's discography is intimidating, and over the course of the last few decades, he's been known for exceeding in a wide array of electronic styles, a rarity among artists of his kind.
The release of Arterial, his fourth EP for Ghostly, marks another successful foray into a niche that most artists would spend their careers immersed in. A calmly effortless work, Arterial is economical in everything it does, creating its own tiny universe to house expertly crafted productions. On the title track, crackling samples simmer like heated atoms narrowly missing each other, suspending us as we wait for release. Eyes Give In encapsulates the EP's feel, taut, with no sound out of place, and yet over the course of its five minutes warming into something undeniably human, even comforting. Quiet Day, the most accessible track here, demonstrates McIlwain's gift for merging heady electronic music with the visceral appeal of pop, as his gorgeous synth melodies compliment submerged vocals.
At 20 minutes, the EP is exactly as long as it needs to be, showcasing yet again the multiplicity that exists within Lusine's work through songs that form a compact whole. As McIlwain told Giant Step in a recent interview, his goal is to find beauty in strange places and warmth under the surface through all his music, and on Arterial he fulfills this wonderfully.