Austra has set up a stream of their new EP Habitat, a four song collection with two instrumental tracks. While the title track's obsidian synth-pop is appetizing and Katie Stelmanis's voice is one of Toronto's most distinctive, it's fascinating to see how the band's music lives when it's stripped of vocals and lives in beat form. Borders melt away: the mournful melodica patch and kick/clap shuffle on "Bass Drum Dance" recalls grime's cartoonish panache, and "Hulluu" moulds campfire rhythms and hissing through an onboard microphone into a witchy Fever Ray demo.
During her interview with Rookie, Stelmanis speaks on her relationship with feminism: "I have a lot to say about [it], but I also have a lot to say about being a producer, plug-ins, synths, digital versus analog delay, DJing vinyl versus WAV files—you know, all that other nerd stuff." Without the full force of her singing, Habitat spotlights another voice.