Written by Archie Sagers
Tuka Wav’s debut EP, Proshect I, is a beautiful collection of four ambient dance pieces interspersed with calmly delivered vocals. Drawing upon elements of Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, Tame Impala, and Yves Tumor, Tuka crafted sombre and understated songs between 2020 and 2021 in the corner of their home in Córdoba, Argentina.
Lo-fi drums drenched in reverb lead opener “Acullá” in before warm bass synth, swirling vocals, and chorus-laden guitar emerge. Tuka’s poetic, angst-ridden singing guides the song through hazy production and soft instrumentation. The chorus loosely translates to “You are already part of my subconscious / I have no end / Clearly, you go without disintegrating,” combining two-part vocal harmonies with omnipresent guitar and softly pulsating synth pads. Slowly muffling towards the end, demonic percussion moves between the left and right speakers until the track halts.
“Envolvente” sees Tuka continue their use of introspective lyrics amongst a warm and enveloping sound. Melodic 808 kick drums sprinkle throughout the intro, reverb encompassing the instrumentation. Soon the track kicks into gear, with steady percussion reinforced by modulated shakers before sliding back down to the laid-back verse and repeating the graceful lyrics that translate to “I went looking for you in the fog / I have more dead shadows in the air.” The second verse ends, promptly transforming into a synth breakdown, echoing Phaedra-era Tangerine Dream with its arpeggiated ambient synths morphing into each other. Electronic animal calls phase in and out of the murky mass of warm reverb, building to a fevered climax, concluding the instrumental ambient interlude.
On “Siluetas,” Tuka implements a soft rolling synthesiser and regular drum pattern that could easily slot into the Stranger Things soundtrack. Sidechained white noise pumps in and out before the robotically pitched vocals smoothly glide through the soundscape. The human element of the voice is lost in the chorus as Tuka asks the listener to “escape from the lunar cycle” and fly. Another verse repeats before the crushing guitar melody, reminiscent of Yves Tumor’s paranoid distortion, cascades into the track. Electronic high hat flickers into the bridge, building in the chorus and landing in a trap-inspired erratic pattern. After a few more repeats, it melts as if someone has placed their hand upon the spinning record, slowly applying more pressure until it fades into nothing.
Closer “Las Luces Me Sofocan” combines Tuka’s introspective songwriting with the EP’s most danceable beat: this track first introduced me to Tuka’s warm and gloomy world. The title, translated in English as “The Light Suffocates Me,” encapsulates the bright swirling synths and dark apathetic vocal performance. Rich percussion merges with the thumping bass drum escalating into the chorus, where it’s fused with dense and melodic synth. Towards the end of the track, the filter suddenly bursts open, allowing rich harmonics to escape the previously muted instrumentation. Regular snare joins the flourishing chorus rhythm until it devolves into turbulent noise, ending the EP with Tuka Wav’s disembodied vocals.
Archie Sagers is a musician and photographer living in Brighton (U.K.). He has also run the record label Crafting Room Recordings since 2019.