Fortune Howl is the project of Bryce Linde, an Orlando experimental electronic artist. Earthbound is the 17-year-old’s first full length release. With twelve fairly meaty tracks, it’s an impressive output for such a young artist. Today electronic music is a crazily bountiful genre, especially in the realm of young, undiscovered artists, so the pressure is there to create something markedly different and daring. Unfortunately Linde doesn’t quite reach those heights here, but that isn’t to say his album isn’t enjoyable and technically impressive.
The album opens with “Edit Me,” a fun two-minute track that feels only a little busy. This give-and-take between messy and smooth is a motif that weaves itself throughout most of the album. The next track, “A Terrible Machine,” trends in the smooth direction and showcases Fortune Howl at his best. The song puts an emphasis on lyricism, without sacrificing the hardcore electronic stylings, eventually sounding like an intriguing mix between folk and electronic. Such a interesting genre fusion allows this song to stand out as one of the truly unique moments on this record. Fortune Howl tends to throw a bit too much into some of these songs, and the results can be mixed. For example, “Laika” has water drops, pitch shifts, and an array of other effects and elements that make the song equal parts inspired and irritating. “Vision Quest” is similarly uneven, with a lot going on and a few genuinely impressive parts, such as the layering of vocal samples towards the end of the song.
Yet when the songs on Earthbound aren’t trying to do too much, it feels like not enough is really happening. Much of this album is peaceful and inoffensive, but not exactly exciting. “Interzone Export” and “Pressure” seem to come and go without feeling terribly memorable. Yet that isn’t to say the peaceful vibe doesn’t serve Linde well at times: “Whatever Ghost” is just about perfect for these summer months, bouncing along effortlessly with some great vocal samples and rhythms. “Paws” has some crisp drums and feels a bit like Burial meets Caribou, which is probably a pretty good stylistic intersection to strive for. In the end, this album fails to be anything mindblowing, which is fine. There are some moments here that are very promising, yet they just need to be culled from an array of songs that feel a bit like filler.
MP3: Fortune Howl “Whatever Ghost”