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EP Review: Shuttle “Halo”


text: Paul Wasada

Shuttle, also known as Nathan Donmoyer, has returned and put the full breadth of his talents as a producer on display with his sophomore EP, Halo. Only on his second extended play, Donmoyer is no stranger to the electro-pop scene as he’s the touring drummer for electro-pop giants, Passion Pit. With Halo, Donmoyer is able to take a step out of that-other-band’s shadow and take full control over the reins of his sound.

Opening Halo is the radio edited version of the namesake track, featuring Foster the People member, Isom Innis. Shuttle produces a mesmerizing backdrop of synth and vocal samples for Innis to frolic upon. Unfortunately, Innis’s unorthodox vocals, while interesting, add nothing of substance to the overall feel of “Halo” and draws attention from some top-notch production. The overt autotuning of Innis’s voice attempts to sound ethereal and enveloping but falls short and comes off as crude and borderline whiny.

Where the namesake track falls short, “Whip” steps up. The track focuses less on the vocals and accentuates Donmoyer’s skill as a producer. Having no more than five different words in the entire song, ‘Whip’ is a five-minute sound epic pieced together using all the right elements.

“Wake up” and “Apple” follow the lead of “Whip,” and showcase the Southern Maryland native’s talents more genuinely. Rounding out the five track EP is a full version of ‘Halo’, which mixes much more quality production and less vocal work from Innis, culminating in a much more potent version than the radio edited track.

When you start Halo, feel free to skip the first song. Don’t feel bad. Shuttle’s ability to take a listener on an excursion using nothing more than perfectly blended instrumentals is his true gift. This gets lost in vocals-based tracks such as “Halo”.  For every act that ‘makes it’, thousands more remain permanently obscure. You have to respect the artist who, having ‘made it’ on one stage, strives to explore another sound all his own, equally worthy of our attention. Shuttle is gaining our respect, and our attention, quite deservedly so.

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