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Introducing Sylph: Rising NorCal artist makes a case for her eclectic taste and intelligent sound design on 4-track ‘Liminal State’ EP

Here at Conscious Electronic, we love all things bass — breakbeat, downtempo, left-field, experimental, dubstep in all its forms, you name it. As the underground bass movement has begun its full ascendancy in the US, we’ve been keeping a finger on the pulse of up-and-coming bass artists the country over. As such, CE’Rising Bass Spotlight seeks to shine a light onto the rising producers who’re honing their craft, galvanizing their movements, and attuning eyes, ears, heads, and bodies into all things low end.

Sylph is the bass music project from Emily Thaller, hailing from Grass Valley, a humble small town in Northeastern California. Her instantly recognizable sound is set apart by compositional elegance and technical prowess. Clever melodies entwine with heavy percussion, deeply rooted basses, and intricate, textural sound design to create her signature psychedelic sound.

With two genre-bending EP releases with Merkaba Music (Liminal State, 2020) and The Rust (Alien Speak, 2018) already under he rbelt, Sylph’s style harnesses strong downtempo, psybass, and psytech influences as she showcases intelligent sound design. Furthermore, Sylph’s live sets further demonstrates an eclectic breadth of taste, often featuring touches of deep dubstep, left field, midtempo, psybass, and drum & bass.

Introducing Sylph

Speaking to her most recent EP, Sylph had the following to say about Liminal State:

“Written at a transitional time in my life, this EP was deeply inspired by movement, communication, the natural world and the rhythms of daily life. I hope this music sparks a little light, momentum and groove within you.”

– Sylph

Liminal state, which the artist does well to define for her audience, means “of, relating to, or situated at a sensory threshold barely perceptible or capable of eliciting a response” (e.g. “liminal visual stimuli”) and/or “of, relating to, or being in an intermediate state, phase or condition (e.g. “…in the liminal state between life and death”).

Liminality is itself an entire sector of academic and theoretical research, often used in critical theory and practice— so when ascribing the term “intelligent” to Slyph’s sound design, we also mean to pin her entire creative process as such as well.

These literal translations can all be felt deeply on the EP project. From the organic tones, ambient textures, complex beat structures, and smooth guiding rhythm’s on the EP opener, “Melting Ice,” to the more upbeat tech-house tempos and winding melodies on “Hypsometry,” to the expansive landscapes on “Morphology” and the experimental aura of “Khepri, the entire four-track EP in an exercise in passing through into something spiritual and life-changing.

For these reasons, and many more, we had to highlight Sylph as a burgeoning newcomer in our Rising Bass Spotlight series, which puts her in good company with underground bass music’s brightest rising stars. Take a listen to Sylph’s Liminal State EP below and be on the lookout for her next EP coming soon!

Sylph – Liminal State EP

Rising Bass Spotlight (SoundCloud Playlist)

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Additional words by Ryan Morse.