I have gone off on many a diatribe railing against the culture of music, from the open maw and pratfall inducing treachery of genre definition to the issue of modern ennui and “hip(ster_ culture” in relation to the once vibrant landscape. Once again, it must be reiterated that there are still a literal ton of artists doing great work, from entire labels (Corwood, for instance, is the easy go to) to individual artists (Corwood?) – but the fertile lands have since been salted for most styles, leading to hideous amalgamations like crabcore and Lil Wayne’s rock outings. So what to make of Mount Kimbie’s strange bedfellows, Seekae? Hand picked by the “post-dubstep poster group” as the opener for a series of dates, Seekae’s live aesthetic (drum kit, SP-404 sampler, a couple of MacBooks) is in line with most operating under the current electronic flavor (Blake’s Prophet synth, drum triggers, SP-404/guitar foundation, Mount Kimbie’s guitar, Maschine, and SP-404 backbone), but distinctly informed by the aesthetic of the West Coast hip-hop scene as filtered by Brainfeeder and Stones Throw. With their sophomore effort +DOME serving as a lingua franca between these artists as much as it states its foil and opposing tensions, the trio of musicians seem poised to become the next go to group for the style’s expanding market, albeit at the price of becoming integrated into existing tropes.

For the relative amount of skill and ease of execution showcased by Seekae, there is little in the way of new territory covered in regards to the atmospheres and textures. Opener ‘Go’ shows heavy debt to ‘Maybes’ in the guitar use, but melds the use of build and white noise to obliterate expectations. By relying on familiar sounds, +DOME feels like the sort of album that came in a half-awake state; the sounds of true hypnagogic music, eschewing the cassette haze of artists using the term, and pushing the envelope forward in ways Enough Thunder and Crooks & Lovers couldn’t. Through amalgamating the NES-indebted sweeps of pulse waves (‘3’ and ‘Yodal’) with the sample heavy manipulation extravaganzas of ages modern and past, the music of Seekae feels as pan-generational as it does impenetrably modern, unable to escape the penchant for compression and sample manipulation that serves as their foundation and indicator of date (it can be certain that 2001-20xx will go down as the “Golden Age Of Squashed Audio”). And while the sounds of +DOME remain fresh and intoxicatingly warm, one cannot help but wonder how long this form can last – not that it spoils the fun or pleasure of ‘Reset Head’ with its downtempo leanings or the truly post-dubstep smoothness of ‘Mingus’. Some missteps are obvious and ignorable; a set of tracks with little contribution that ends up being staid. ‘Underling’ leaves little to be remembered save for strings that have no place appearing, and ‘Two’ all but duplicates every Mount Kimbie trope/signifier and fails to properly reterritorialize the frontier, leaving the remnants of the old sound/culture where new ideas should have been fully implemented – it’s enough to break flow and raise arms in a call of minor plagiarism. Luckily for Seekae, those stand as the only missteps and detract from the whole experience so little, while arguably adding to the overall sonic palette, that all can be forgiven. Which leaves the listener at a vital decision: to place this album as an extension of an already extant and well defined category dominated by such clear sounds inexorably tied to their progenitors that to remove them from those figures would be folly, or to admit it to the pantheon with a free pass and give it high marks as an extension by proxy.

+DOME won’t exactly change the game or even win over droves of listeners who don’t already have some inclination towards the sounds being played with here (fans of Skrillex need not apply), but the album stands as a defiantly good disc, and one that tells the sophomore slump to get shoved. It wouldn’t be a surprise to find this band teaming up with Mount Kimbie on a tour split, releasing a one-off on Hotflush or Hemlock, or even garnering a few spins as part of a retrospective of the past three years of electronic music. It’s music that will sound dated by its adherence in five years’ time, but the same could be said of Crooks & Lovers and CMYK - it’s the nature of the production and the amorphous rhizome of music. So enjoy it while it’s here and truly in the mode.