One of music’s greatest gifts is being able to turn impressive live acts into impressive studio music – or even better, vice versa. While electronic music has battled to hold the prestige it currently has, even the best live artists have follies in the studio. For Portland trio Reporter, their music sounds just as vitally charged, just as buoyantly afloat, and just as electric on their debut, Time Incredible, as it does live. And when you’re just starting out, being able to produce your own music – extremely well at that – then you’re already quite ahead.
The sci-fi tendencies of their name hint at super synthesized music but instead Reporter construct tightly wound electronic hits in fascinating manners. This isn’t a brief demo that was recorded to garner some kind of attention. No, Time Incredible was recorded in the trio’s own studio and produced solely by themselves, for themselves. The results are nine highly polished, beaming even, songs that blend the realms of ambience, pop and electronic music together.
Never looking to make things any more serious than they have to, the music results into levels of hip-shaking moments, rather than pulling at your heart-strings. “Lab Test” introduces a clashing guitar to counter the tapping keyboards and congas; everything then dies down before kicking right back into the female-led vocals. Each song is a carefully composed song that takes on different shapes and sizes before it’s all said and done. But even through their subtle changes, each one will surely have you thinking of the dancefloor.
The dancefloor is where Reporter usually operates, proclaiming that Portland is no longer Elliott Smith’s sad Portland but instead a haven for DIY dance/electronic beatmakers. The music is definitely built for that kind of setting with many of the songs containing growing, sweltering beginnings you’d normally find in clubs. Just like “Geronimo’s Bones” begins with spectral chants and pumping drums, the center expose is a manifestation of booming beats and melodic choruses. However, the significant factor in the kind of music Reporter make is that they are also, solid musicians – the production on Time Incredible being sole proof.
Although you’d probably like a little bit more variety sprinkled in, the overall passage that this time machine takes you in is a terrific ride. If James Murphy wants to know what kind of music he’s begun to influence, Time Incredible would be a perfect place to look. For Reporter, simply being able to command your own sounds and eventually, manipulate them to your own liking is paramount and fortunately, they’ve found that. In that same sense, there is still a lot more to succeed in but for now, I’m sure they’ll take what they have so far.