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.

SBTRKT | Sampha | Jessie Ware

 

 

 

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Review – Music – Little Dragon

July 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

Album: Little Dragon by Little Dragon

Little Dragon’s self titled album is music for lazy days in the park, tea parties, late night trains, and boozy lunches with your bezzies.
This album is part electronica, part new wave, part R&B and 60% brilliant! Before you think only 60%? DO NOT let that stop you from reading on! If you don’t particularly enjoy electro but sometimes find yourself tapping your feet to The Knife or Hot Chip, then there IS hope… Little Dragon delivers so much more texture than electro, so much more! In all honestly, the album hosts as many ‘stand-out’ tracks as ‘skip-overs’, but the ‘stand-outs’ never get boring. With emotionally taut lyrics tied in with beautiful vocals and abstract electronics, the album stands proud as not only unique but strangely familiar. We won’t bore you with individual track write-ups, but we will recommend ‘Ritual Union’, it is pure genius!

These four school chums from Gothenburg should be proud of them selves, with sparse, quirky, gender-bending sounds, and singer Yukimi Nagano’s eerie and heartful tones, this album deserves credit where it’s due.

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