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Julian Kaufman has been steadily releasing music on Soundcloud for the last few years, and this past year on a very large scale. His methods are sporadic, the snippets and demos he’s released always seem like throwaways. Spring cleaning. It’s impressive given the quality of each little piece.

So when a few of his ideas seem to line up in a cohesive group it feels all the more careful and calculated. In his May Ep Oli, Eva, and Megan” Julian gives listeners something more personal than most of his hours upon hours of uploaded material. When I asked Julian for a one-liner, something to sum up what this release means to him he wrote back quickly with Eva sings on Megan’s song, Oli sings on Eva’s song, and Megan doesn’t sing at all.” This album might appear to us like a collection of songs but to Julian, it’s obviously much more. His first major foray into singing, his first EP in a few years, and his first impressions.

Julian’s voice is calm and it takes up little space in the crowded synth-pop tracks, but it’s a near perfect fit. The first track, My friend Eva starts with a bit of a showcase of Julian’s ability to construct tight, catchy electronic beats. The drums punch, and they feel organized and robotic. When Julian’s singing starts it feels like a human foil to the straightaway drums and synths. The counter melody that starts before the two-minute mark is a perfect pair for the rising tension of the beats; The song explodes before finding respite in Oli’s sweet vocal musings.

Waffle House feels warm and easy, like hiding from the cold Ohio winter. Oli’s vocals turn staccato words and phrases into a wall of sound. The track patiently builds to a huge final chorus that brings Oli and Julian’s vocals together, and it works precisely because of the simplicity. It feels earned.

The EP ends with Megan and Julian Will Not Play the Hits, a compact track along the lines of delightful grocery store music. Eva (the friend from the opening track) appears to sing around and through Julian’s melodies.

True to form, Julian released another small EP just a week after Oli, Eva, and Megan. This Summer will, most likely, see Julian following in his mode and releasing tracks left and right, but Oli, Eva, and Megan feels like a standout release. The way Julian’s voice weaves with the voices of his friends brings the amount of care Julian has given to all of his music to the forefront.

Cereal Pairing: Honey Nut Cheerios