Music – SBTRKT – Self Titled Album (2011)
September 21, 2011 § Leave a comment
It’s pronounced “subtract”, which is the name this south London producer goes by. First emerging as a breakbeat and nu-jazz artist, the man behind the mask Aaron Jerome has finally brought us his long-awaited self-titled debut LP.
Like the record from James Blake earlier this year, we would argue that SBTRKT has moved to the right in musical production with varying results. At times, the vocals are too poppy and wearying, and the restless genre-bending can get tiring. ‘Wildfire’ irritates like Oliver Daysoul on Butter, and ‘Never Never’ pitches up at daytime Radio 1. The production is also bright, polished, and the elevation of emotion can suffer.
So the mask called SBTRKT… is this just Aaron trying to hide his musical past and start afresh, ala Redshape, or is he attempting to cultivate a distinct image that supplements his musical direction like Burial?
What ever name Aaron wants to play under, when the ambition comes together, it’s quite brilliant. ‘Hold On’ has an irrepressible beat with chimes; ‘Trials of the Past’ is intelligent, astute, and soulful; and ‘Go Bang’…’Go Bang’… well! It’s just absolutely brilliant, a looped, arpeggiated epic journey of a track which moves from slick nu-dubstep to dotty house. Powell’s concerns about sonic specifics still exist, and comparisons to Timbaland are still complete hyperbole.
But should SBTRKT keep emphasizing the poppier elements, and forging the sounds of 2011, big, big things await.