Among the many stylistic traits of Southern California cultural offerings is a certain easiness, a smooth, groove-centered vibe found both in Dr. Dre’s G-funk sound two decades ago and the dubbed out sounds of Flying Lotus, Teebs and the Gaslamp Killer today. It’s in the harmonies of the Beach Boys, the graceful delivery of Chet Baker and Frank Ocean’s relaxed story-tracks on “Channel Orange.”
“Replay Last Night,” the debut full length from L.A. beat producer Astronautica, taps into this wellspring. The alter-ego of 21-year-old Los Angeles native Edrina Martinez, Astronautica on her debut, which comes out Tuesday, crafts instrumental electronic dance music filled with pensive, muffled rhythms that wend through gratifyingly complicated melodies.
It’s a dangerous business, though, crafting bliss that still retains tension -- the kind that’s not cheesy or overwrought. The tracks on “Replay” walk that line, conjuring a feeling that suggests the pastoral sounds of Boards of Canada or the Cologne techno producer the Bionaut’s magnetic pillow-beats. At "Replay's" best, as on “Lowrider,” a similar soft funkiness drives layers of sound, gauzed-out vocal snippets, hissy high-hat runs that chase casual rhythms and plumb the depths. Ditto “Weekends," which features humming basslines, fractal voices and an echoed finger snap where the snare’s supposed to be.