First look at Author’s new release
In the world of music collaborations happen as par for the course. Short term, once off tunes can be born from a melding of ideas or albums can be formed when producers combine with singers or other talent.
When parties who are established artists combine to form a new entity the results can be more than the sum of their parts. Major Lazer and Magnetic Man are just a couple of examples of side projects that have grown to become in demand musical entities in their own rights.
Author, the latest release on Pinch’s Tectonic imprint, sees two of the deeper dubstep producers combine as a new persona. Jack Sparrow and Ruskspin have worked on tracks before but some how this new act seems to have captured some of that vital alchemy and taken on a life of its own.
The 8 track release is half way between an album and EP, a proof of concept almost. In addition to production from both Ruskspin (Dom Howard) and Jack Sparrow (Ryan Gath) we are treated to the talents of Ed Thomas and Ben Glass who bring vocals ans live instruments into Author’s world.
The tunes have a permeating manner as a result the entire release feels coherent. The haunting mood pervades as we are drawn into a world evocative of back streets, mysteries and 80s inspired saxophone solos that avoid sounding like a cliched musical trick.
This study of post clubbing bliss is played on a stage of late nights and dark tales and this world seems so finely crafted that it could be a sound track to some classic film you somehow missed.
The opening track, “Turn”, sets the agenda. Trumpets sound against a rolling mix of bass and drums. Productions are so tight here that when Ed Thomas begins to sing once could be forgiven for mistaking this for a progressive jazz band. Double bass announces itself from the break and then falls back into the rolling sub-bass drop as the song rolls lazily to its conclusion.
“Sun” purrs with a rhythm that has more than a tip of the hat to old garage beats. As trumpets accompany the percussion the two sounds combine like some avant-garde Jazz-garage fusion. The song takes on a timeless quality, but certainly not off this time. Its a song that evokes memories of past eras and styles and chooses not to reside anywhere other than very much in Author’s world.
“Dashiki” sees syncopated tribal drum patterns like only Jack Sparrow can do, while its easy to spot the song’s drum influences the strings in this song are haunting and provide a melancholy that is missing in many of Jack Sparrows solo works.
Where raw power and frantic energy have been eschewed in favor of emotive content the songs on this release are much greater for the benefit.
The standout track on this Tectonic release is “Fix”, a six and a half minute song that recalls more than just the energy of a baptist mass. Church organs stab their way through an ever present rolling baseline as gospel vocals float in and out of the arrangement. The busy beats shuffle through the spaces in the song allowing the listener to lose themselves in the moment and ultimately the song.
“Drain”, the closing track on this release sounds like a dirge, a funeral march for the end of this release. Relentless and almost military at times, the second drop takes a mechanical, clock-work style flavor and works this pattern into a beat that trails off as the songs fades to a close.
When Pinch decides to release music on his label you know that it will be of exceptional quality, this release lives up to everyone of these standards and then some.
Truth recently decided to create a similar vibe with some works featuring Cutty Ranks, this direction is really appealing to me. While you might not hear many of these tracks on a dance floor any time soon I hope this is a direction that dubstep take’s itself as the fractals of inspiration continue to fragment the dubstep sound.