SBTRKT : SBTRKT (27.06.2011)
Available on: Young Turks LP/CD
Following SBTRKT’s path last year was an ambiguous journey. After releasing Step in Shadows EP and remixing UNDERWORLD’s Bird 1 back in November 2010 “the man behind one of the most famous masks in electronic music” took a half-year pause to let BLAKE and WOON break through the veils of BBC Sound of 2011 and finish his debut self-titled LP for Young Turks. After Wildfire’s previewed release in the end of May, SBTRKT LP followed in a month. Then in August “a man in the native society’s ceremonial mask” brought his project to Field Day Festival in London. Autumn began with the video release for Pharaohs and continued with a remix for RADIOHEAD’s Lotus Flower, leaving something for December when Hold On was announced as the next single for 2012.
Keeping his initial promises that an album would not be a pack of club tunes the London-based producer delivers a more meaningful project than just a basket of bass and glitch cuts. SBTRKT has two main differences from the rest of the camp that help him to stay on the top of the UK Garage hill. Musically SBTRKT sounds more than Dubstep and UK Funky seeking after more complex sound patterns and genre schemes. Technically he is not trying to be mutual like BURIAL and doesn’t sing himself like BLAKE and WOON recruiting various artists to provide vocals for his tracks. That is what makes journalists and critics confused about SBTRKT sound and style.
Switching straight to what SBTRKT has produced on his debut long play I can declare that an album makes an impression of something coherent and completed. The record consists of songs and tracks which makes it more difficult to reach the result of wholeness. At the opening gates stands Heatwave which serves as the perfect intro. Apart from grimy Wildfire and wonky Trials of the Past there are some MJ COLE-like pearls like Right Thing to Do and Pharaohs. It would not be a great record without such hidden treasures as Hold On and Never Never plus such sketchy landscapes as Sanctuary and Ready Set Loop. Go Bang shuts SBTRKT’s back door leaving the key to the listener for numerous repeated playbacks.
Obviously, this album will not get lost on the shelf among releases of GHOSTPOET, BLUE DAISY and similar producers. The most important for SBTRKT at the moment is not to lose his vigorous sound with carnival enigma and continue producing his thoughts and ideas the way he did in 2011.