Pacific Rhythm is once again reaching across the country to the Toronto megacity. Active Surplus is the duo of Evan Vincent (AKA Emissive) and Ian Syrett, who also appear on the fourth volume of Rhythms Of The Pacific. Their new self-titled EP is their love letter to the house music sound that first sprouted from the West Coast. It’s laid-back, groovy and touched with lovely instrumentation, like the plucked strings on “Meera,” a heartfelt tribute to a loved one. “Meera” and the billowing groove of “Ambrosia” might remind you of early Pacific Rhythm releases, with dainty arrangements and chords that waft across the rhythm section.
But Active Surplus put their own spin on things. The EP was heavily inspired by the stuttering drum patterns of Baltimore club, which undergird each track in subtle but noticeable ways, making the grooves that much skippier and slippier. A sampled performance from a Nomadic tribe appears on “Yeye,” while the looped woodwinds and cool-blue keyboards offer a sweet melodic hook on the irresistible “One Beyond.” There’s a confident, naturalistic quality to these rippling grooves and silky sounds, which the duo credit to an obsession with water. After all, in their words, “we might not live by the ocean, but we’re all H20 on the inside.”