In my view, Electronic music hasnt sounded this good for quite some time. In fact, judging by recent times it would almost appear the minority is transforming into the majority when it comes to the current demand for progressional electro, or Post Dubstep as it’s widely deemed.
Over the past twelve months we’ve seen a profound haze ascend over the electronic sphere as the defined boundaries have steadily blurred between styles of R&B, House, UK Funky, Dubstep and everything in between. Its an exciting time where a clutch of new producers have burst onto the scene in such a way that the previously meteoric mass of followers for Dubstep and Drum & Bass have began turning their heads to take notice. The internet blogosphere set the tone as attentions sharply turned to the likes of James Blake, Jamie Woon and Jamie XX, however the alarming progression and sheer velocity with which Aaron Jerome aka SBTRKT‘s career has accelerated is meteoric to say the least.
Back in early 2010 Brainmouth Records sanctioned the release of the brilliantly visceral 2020EP which followed closely in the footsteps of Joy Orbison, Ramadanman, Scuba, Roska and several others starting to emerge, 2020 possessed a soulful vibe with a jovial, club-friendly intensity that enabled his material to hold its own from the get go. Significantly, It’s deep house style managed to twine chilled breaks and funky techno to such a degree it was hard to understand how this hadnt been curated before.
The SBTRKT hypemachine shifted into gear after a clutch of Future Garage remixes came to light, remastering the likes of Basement Jaxx, Modeselektor & Tinie Tempah to name a few. In the early months the only suprise was the sheer level of anonymity SBTRKT had managed to maintain, and it was only during the latter stage of 2010 when publicity began coming his way. In one particular itnerview with Resident Advisor he spoke of his motivation behind the recent influx of remixes, stating;
“A lot of other producers’ remixes sound like they are thrown together rather than treated like an original track,” says the producer. “With remixes I go for the experimental approach production-wise but [make sure they] still can be played out in DJ sets. Also it’s the chance to have some fun with the parts in the tracks that I normally wouldn’t use on my own. My original material is more song-based experiments rather than club-friendly instrumentals.”
By the end of 2010 demand grew and the tribal-masked Londoner’s live performances were becoming something of an exhibition (you can see his effortlessly scatty mash-up at The Boiler Room here). Many point towards his anonymity and the mystery behind why there was next to no known information around him as a factor towards increasing itnerest, however credit where credit’s due and it would be wrong to discard the fact that the quality of the content SBTRKT has continually published should be the sole reason behind the hypemachine.
Which leads nicely to the biggest landmark of all; the release of the debut album. Since the album was available to stream off SBTKRT‘s site last week, the response has been overwhelmingly commendable and rightly so. Teaming up with long time friend and rising star Sampha amongst the equally brilliant Roses Gabor and Jessie Ware the record is bassladen enough to hold down club sets yet remains diverse enough to make it a genuine pleasure to listen from from start to finish.
Suprise omissions come in the way of Old Skool Garage track ‘Living Like I Do’ and Drake’s remix of ‘Wildfire’, both hugely popular tracks that would’ve held their own if included but with eight out of eleven tracks already boosted by vocal accompaniment eclecticism is the last thing Jerome need worry about.
Personal highlight comes in the form of the Roses Gabor fronted ‘Right Thing To Do’, a Garage/2-step fusion that reminds us why Garage was popular in the first place. The biggest mention of all must go to SBTRKT‘s dominant Vocal leader Sampha, whose unique tone driven by Jerome’s deft production will be the reason behind his mainstream success.
This is an album curated for sunshine enjoyment, so watch as this becomes one of the preffered soundtracks over the coming months. Ultimately, If any producer can blend a barrage of subgenre’s together as seamlessly as SBTRKT can, then there’s a definite gap in the market for them.
Released on the Young Turks label, full album stream can be found below.