Salt Cathedral’s latest EP, Oom Velt, is only 22 minutes long. I say “only” because I’m lamenting its brevity. I lament that there aren’t 22 more equally exciting minutes in here for me to pledge eternal allegiance to. What I’m saying is: Oom Velt is strong.
The Colombian-rooted, Brooklyn-based group (formerly known as Il Abanico)—led by Juliana Ronderos and Nicolas Losada—expertly temper manic elements in this new six-song EP. We’ve gushed enough about “Tease” and “Holy Soul,” two confident tracks that showcase Salt Cathedral’s propensity for thin vocal looping and bright beats, and now we can gush about the four other single-quality tracks in the collection.
The opening title track is the only instrumental, a Brooklyn-repping beat collage that serves as a good stage setter for what’s to come (twinkling flurries, soft looping, and laidback beats). But it’s not all frantic keyboard punching and fairy looping. Following “Holy Soul”’s lead, they slow it down during “Good Winds” to prove their formula works just as well in more soulful, earnest arenas. Soon after they amp up the beats in the subtly industrial “Justified,” one of Oom Velt’s many highlights. Closer “Traveling in Pairs” might be the weakest in the bunch, reaching more toward Disclosure heights than any of the other tracks in here. It’s still nicely assembled, just fairly forgettable.
But Oom Velt has less in common with Disclosure and more with Javelin, Balún, El Perro del Mar, and Phantogram. Salt Cathedral’s talent lies in their ability to make catchy work that still feels ambitious; make familiar territory feel surprising again.