Sequenced into his trademark mix of polyrhythmic synths, processed vocals, and organic instrumentation is the more prominent use of a looper. The technique lends each composition an uncanny kind of multiplicity. Opener “Not Alone” repeats and stretches vocal phrasings from Hardly Art-signed American singer-songwriter Jenn Champion, building onto itself until a climactic, near-duet reset. South Korean musician Yousun Cho aka CIFIKA brings a fluttering of bilingual directives to “Step On,” a buoyant exercise in electronic pop. The title track embodies the whole, allowing a single synth pattern to morph, regenerate, and bloom before returning to its original form.
“You can't ignore the steps that it took to get where you are now,” says McIlwain. Retrace is a fluid line between recursive past and proof of the present. Another in a series of consistently engaging pivots for one of the more diverse experimental electronic discographies of the past two decades.