**1/2 (out of four)
Chicago's dance music scene, whether in its original house setting or more recent electro incarnations, has always been distinctly urban: boisterous, cluttered but regimented, social. But
His music, accordingly, is pastoral, as much as that can be said about something electronic. It's not shy about the idea, either: Vocal interlude “Canaan” delivers a monologue (a sample or an imitation of one?) about the “tamed country aesthetic in which he sought solace,” and the album ends with a sample of a
“Mowgli” feels engineered for this late-winter season, its spare notes and drifting spaces forming the perfect soundtrack for padding through quiet, wide-open snow drifts. The intermittent plinks of opener “Ashore” are like icicles melting under a weak sun, until the track explodes in an excited swell of blown-out bass. “Trustfall” grows serenely, like budding tree leaves, while “Align” and “Ludlow” roam through what feels like an empty outdoors.
The influences sometimes are clear, but there are worse fates that sounding a little too much like Radiohead, Burial and Toro Y Moi. Mister Lies clearly is still growing as an artist, but the feeling of austere beauty is already there, like the first tentative blooms of spring.
Kyle Kramer is a RedEye special contributor. @redeyechimusic