Revealed at the dawn of the decade by his inspired remixes for Radiohead and Caribou and sadly forgotten right away, Altrice had pushed the exercise to its limits, recreating Dan Snaith's entire album Swim in 2011. Stem, as a result, was quite an impressive and personal work of dreamlike and atmospheric nature, full of dark corners and evanescent textures.
However, I didn't follow that closely the Tucson-based beatmaker since the equally beautiful and haunting EP Fell released the following year, which gave him plenty of time to make his sound evolve through a handful of EPs and mixtapes from baroque electronica to evocative instrumental hip-hop.
thhf '18 set seems to be inspired by a Turkish tale, not far from Perrault or the brothers Grimm, about three young boys warned by their mother not to venture into the forest, a story for which the EP would be some kind of imaginary soundtrack. Beautiful loops of sampled eastern strings, deep bass and syncopated beats accompany the narrative on the opener once there was, and quickly the tension increases, a heavy breathing underlying the similarly loud trap-ish drum patterns of and twice there wasn't.
Fate, from a sneaky flute, seems to be lurking around this family of three brothers and after the polyphonic chamber wandering of big one, the menace is unveiled by in-the-middle with its horror-like sound effects and murky synths... the Witch enters the stage and teeny-tiny "the littlest one" only owes his salvation to his agility to dodge deep pulses and fluttering cuts, escaping through the serpentine boom bap of every day, their mother said.
Finally, the arabian melancholia of "you can play anywhere in the village..." comes as a relief for the brotherhood. Or was it all an eerie dream like the closing track "...but do not go into the forest." and its last phantasmagoria fading into the light appear to imply ? That EP sure was for the listener, and a quite enjoyable one !