EP Review: Running Touch – A Body Slow
Melbourne-based artist Running Touch’s debut EP has been a long time coming. For the last year, the enigmatic artist has experienced a rapid increase in popularity, with tracks like This is Just to Say becoming favourites among the Triple J Unearthed crowd, as well as a blossoming live show which saw him go from Splendour in the Grass and Groovin’ the Moo last year to the Love Festival and his first ever international shows in the US this year.
When Music Insight spoke to him in the lead-up to this release, Running Touch talked about the concept of this record, basing it on “a fleeting, reminiscent moment of revelation, like something someone said to you that you weren’t necessarily friends with at some point in time, and then that little instant two months later completely changed your life.” With him working so hard on this six track EP, it has become clear that there is a serious attention to detail about this record.
The first thing that really strikes the listener about A Body Slow is the many amazing and varied sounds of every track. Running Touch really paid attention to the flow and feel of the record, but also on the sounds of the record itself; there is a strong acoustic element at the core of every track, but it is all seen and listened to through a captivating electronic lens that welcomes you in.
The opener, She’s Waiting is a moody intimate piece with an overpowering bass, but the use of clapping and guitar really keeps the core of the track focused on that acoustic element. Running Touch’s vocal delivery is also stellar, almost whispering his lyrics. The album then flows very nicely into bangers Courtesy Of and Lovely, Running Touch tracks that has been bouncing around for some time now. The piano takes centre stage for both these tracks, but both for produce very different vibes and sounds. Running Touch almost sounds reminiscent of Nick Murphy during his early Chet Faker days, with backing speaking vocals and his incorporation of instrumentation and production. However, unlike Murphy, these tracks have much more of an organic centre to them.
However, when Running Touch strays away from that organic element, it robs the material of some of its majesty. Such is the case with the percussion: many of the opening tracks often follow a similar beat, which can make the record feel slightly repetitive. Sometimes too much production is added, such as with the synths of She’s Waiting or the vocals of Don’t Tell Me It’s True, which hide Running Touch’s stellar voice, an important human element to these songs. The hidden track after the end of Courtesy Of feels more like a half-cooked idea that didn’t add anything to the record.
But, many of these elements are small nit-picks in what is a great collection of electronica. The second half of the record brings out the best tracks, including our personal favourite, You’re Saving That For Me, with a hypnotic tune and a bouncing bass and percussion, an awesome hook that is almost EDM-inspired, and the gorgeous guitar and vocals adding a nice touch.
Don’t Tell Me It’s True has got a serious swagger to it through gorgeous production and synthesisers, and the closer, Aubrey (featuring Ira Horace O-W) is real highlight. Easily the most funky and danceable of the tracks here, what is so good is the blending of Horace’s vocals, which are almost old-school rap in style, with Running Touch’s elegant vocals. It’s a match made in heaven, and that lyrical outro, “It’s me, it’s you, just me, it’s you,” is so damn catchy you want to immediately hit play again.
Overall, Running Touch has pulled together a banger of a debut EP. His strength lies in his ability to seamlessly blend acoustic and electronic, and while he strays from the path and experiments to varying degrees of success, he plays to his strengths too, which produces some amazing music. There is a lot to like in this down-to-earth EP, and the fact it is a debut record gives you a sense that good things are to come for this talented artist as he matures.