Missio is the brainchild of 22-year-old Austin resident Matthew Brue. Originally from Colorado, Brue began playing music at the age of 6 when he started learning classical piano. After reaching somewhat of a musical crossroads at the tender age of 20, Brue left Colorado and bought a retro caravan (a 1974 Airstream Trailer to be exact) and travelled across the US creating music, removed from the realities of everyday life. What emerged at the end of this yearlong journey was Missio, 52 tracks of minimalistic, dark electronic soundscapes. 5 of these songs have become his debut self-titled EP.

Missio’s website defines his music as ‘Cinematic/Alt-Electronic’. Whilst this label could mean almost anything, it does make sense once you hear his music. The current single, I’ve Lost My Way, feels like it was made for a film, perhaps a wide angled landscape shot from something like No Country for Old Men. The track is a broad soundscape, with a booming drum loop the focal point from the beginning. Orchestral in instrumentation, the strings come in part way through the track and are used to great effect to provide a mood, and dynamic, shift towards the end of the song.

The feature of the song is the repeated reverbed vocal line, doubled by a glockenspiel, which continues throughout and provides the central point around which the rest of the track ebbs and flows. By the end of the track you will be forgiven for looking over your shoulder to see how the world is going to end, such is the sense of impending doom.

The entire EP is brilliant, diverse yet cohesive. There are a few religious references scattered throughout, such as Missio Dei (Latin for Mission of God). A comparatively upbeat number, the track contains a really haunting church choir-like vocal line, almost Gregorian in its harmony. Brue’s background in piano is evident, as it features heavily, as does his ability to layer complex, rich, and moving vocal harmonies. It is really the vocals that provide the ‘wow’ moments throughout, particularly in Monster and Missio Dei.

At times there are comparisons to M83, other times elements of Sigur Ros expansive moments. Missio is one of many in the current crop of artists producing minimalistic, but very melodic, electronic music; however there is never a sense that this music is unoriginal. On the contrary, Missio is exciting, haunting, dark, and showing great diversity. The EP as a whole is a great introduction to Missio’s musical range and obvious talent.

The best thing about this release is somewhere in his retro sci-fi caravan are 47 more tracks, just waiting to be heard.

The self-titled EP and new single ‘I’ve Lost My Way’ are both available now on iTunes.

Nicholas Cheek.