Steep Steps is an indie-electronic project by producer Tony Correlli, featuring vocalist Athena Hiotis (Rêve, Circuit Villains), whose debut EP, Vigilance, was released in November. While not a band, per se, these two have composed a thrilling four-song collection perfect for movies and television. After listening to it myself, it’s not surprising to me that, in one mere month from its release, Steep Steps was nominated as Best EDM Artist at the Maryland Music Awards.
Considering the short nature of this release, and the project’s intent for its songs, let’s break this down tune-by-tune. The opening track and debut single from Vigilance is called “Sophia.” The beat and electrobass chug along as the dual vocal harmony swims hauntingly through the air, cascading over the ears, wrapping around each nook and cranny. Correlli opened up to me that “[Sophia] was inspired by a chapter from the ancient Book of Enoch that personifies wisdom as a woman searching for a dwelling among the children of men – and not finding a place. Still true today! But what if? What if we looked for wisdom rather than vengeance and other emotional reactions that have caused so much pain and death for as long as our history has been written?” The video released for this song paints the latter vividly, and features stunning videography to match the omnipresence of the music.
Following this we have “Comatose,” an eerie song in which bass notes scrape the bottom of the audible spectrum, vibrating the air. Static buzzes, alternating from ear to ear alongside the echoed hammering of an object dropped upon the floor. Athena’s voice cuts through, paranoia setting in, pushing forward down halls in this forgotten space. “Namaste” is a change of pace, and the chorus’ peaceful, airy, layered vocals are reminiscent of Devin Townsend’s Epicloud. The drums continually pound forward, while fingers dance ascending and descending lines upon the keys. A smile definitely cuts wide across my face each time this one spins. Closing out the release is the song “Outlines” from the film Butterfly Kisses, returning once more to the eerie; yet powerful. Athena’s voice stretches out and lingers, ushered forth by unnerving keystrokes and otherworldly string vibrations. If you’d like to up the ante, check out the accompanying Steep Steps video.
I’ve been a fan of Tony Correlli’s work as a producer at Deep End Studios for years now. But while I’ve continually had the pleasure of listening to other peoples’ projects he produced, and perhaps played on or co-wrote with occasionally, this is my first opportunity to hear his own creative juices leading the charge. Frankly, what he and Athena Hiotis have done with Vigilance is beautiful, even when hauntingly so. One of these four selections has already found its way into a movie soundtrack, and the others could easily do the same, but all of them are enjoyable as standalone listenings as well. So whether you’re director looking to elevate your cinematic experience, or merely a fan of music, consider Steep Steps.