The record begins with “Aloe Drink,” a tune, which, like the beverage it’s named after, is both specifically familiar and vaguely mysterious; it begets questions of origin despite its appearance of recognizability. Built around an acoustic, earthy drum pattern, it kicks off feeling fast-paced, propulsive, but this proves illusory when aqueous pads push into the frame and lend the piece a calm stillness.
Force of Nature (DJ Kent and KZA), making a rare appearance as remixers, preserves the original’s intent and architecture while managing to find a way to subtly lift it in energy and register; extra drums and an augmenting synth lick ease it into a territory of dance floor functionality. A version as rousing and bumpin’ as it is intimate and tender.
On the other side is “Friend” and “Strange Plant,” a harmonious pair that reflects the A-side’s vibe as it refracts it into a spectrum of new hues and spaces. “Friend” is a kaleidoscopic trip through time-warping trance, and “Strange Plant” a sharper, punchier song that takes keyed-up rave chords and gives them some heart, some soul, by removing all the artificial drama they’re normally consumed by.
A cleverly crafted and sincere, sweet record that telegraphs a wink of irony as it carries you through a vortex of technicolor fractals and flickering embers.