Vilcabamba EP Artwork

Review | Vilcabamba EP

Galapagos Records graces us with a new EP from artist Ryan Brokenshire, Vilcabamba. The third release off the label, Ryan Brokenshire offers a unique take on what I would expect from this tropical EP. Helped by drum sessions from John Joseph and Mike Dreg, he takes you to the tropical climate the title evokes. Disco vibes felt throughout as well as jazz feels.

Vilcabamba opens with the title track, which includes some nice tropical drums and a distorted bassline ready to make you groove. It continues this smooth yet driving feel throughout. As the instrumentation develops, the consistency of the drum groove allows you to travel with the synths. There is something about the melody that allows for it to really meander in-and-out of focus. It’s a lovely mix of some well-placed drums and keyboards. It’s simple, to the point, and a solid open to this EP.

“Isabela” teases you with these beautiful keys right from the start, slowly building the drums on top. I had to repeat the track several times just to catch all the intricacies of the keyboard movements in this track. The snare’s timing across the EP is amazing, but this track in particular has me all over the snare. Several minutes into the track you’ll think you’ve seen it all, but wait: Brokenshire breaks out a whole new batch of electronic synths that really push the tempo. Adding yet another synth with some ethereal pads brings all three electronic elements together to really change the dynamic of the track. It’s remarkable how these sections mesh so well and offer a progressive build to the track’s momentum from start to finish.

Starting off with some uptempo drums and building on that solid groove, “Ayahausca” is quicker than the previous songs and offers an almost driving power while still remaining consistent to the EP. The drums push the tempo, offering clean fills and big cymbals. The synth offers lots of textures as the filter cutoff is modulated while the piano is pushing through the middle of the track with an almost erratic feel. The top end on the bassline is pure bliss. The drums are well produced. The outro reminds me of disco tracks of lore, almost begging to be sampled.

“Todo El Mundo” feels more somber than the previous tracks. Opening with the most beautiful piano and pushing into a wall of synths and drums. It doesn’t lack in excitement or even in the drum section, but something about the incorporation of the piano lines really softens this track for me. It has the same big fills and lovely melodies. The use of the instruments across arrangement allows for a lot to be going without being overwhelmed. This track in particular seems to be more direct in its on and off periods, which I totally dig.