[THREE-WAY] When Charlie Salas-Humara quit his one-man-band-turned-duo, Panther, in 2009, I knew it would only be a matter of time until he returned to the fore of the Portland music scene. And while he has popped up in various live capacities (most notably fronting local semi-supergroup Ylang Ylang), his newest group, Sun Angle, seems intent on being a "real band," offering an energetic first cassette EP this week as physical proof. Luckily, it's also the most exciting thing Salas-Humara has been involved with for a long time.
The dots between Panther and Sun Angle are connectable, but not especially pronounced. Where the former depended on precise, sexy musicianship and repetitive hooks, Sun Angle finds pleasure in a looser, more effervescent sound. Sun Angle's three members—Salas-Humara, Copy's Marius Libman on bass and Paper/Upper/Cuts' Papi Fimbres on drums and flute—work from a palette that's thick with the sort of foggy reverb we've come to expect from the emerging chillwave subgenre, but also ripe with a frenetic energy that's passed between members like a hot potato. While Fimbres' melodic, cymbal-heavy percussion gifts all of his projects with a certain post-bop swagger, Libman and Salas-Humara seem especially willing to turn in a jazzy direction ("Yes Beach" is alternately modal and free-flowing; "Seriously Innocent" sounds at times like guitar-led '70s fusion).
On "Vague Light," it seems as if each member of Sun Angle is playing in a genre that's in direct opposition to those of his bandmates. Salas-Humara is off in his prog world while Fimbres plays frantic Latin jazz and Libman plugs away on some minimal trance music. But two minutes in, after a brief breakdown, all three return more intense than ever to force the track—kicking and screaming—into submission. These guys know exactly what they're doing; they're just doing it the hard way. That stubborn determination to make something unclassifiable and fresh pays off throughout the EP.
SEE IT: Sun Angle releases its self-titled EP on Tuesday, Nov. 8, at Holocene, with Wooden Indian Burial Ground and Our Brother the Native. 9 pm. $5. 21+.