Archive for the ‘Katy B’ Tag

Album: SBTRKT – SBTKRT

Anyone who has read this blog with any degree of regularity will know that I’m more than a bit of a fan of Will Wisenfeld aka Baths, and his 2010 album Cerulean. I still remember my first time giving the album a listen and waiting for the filler to arrive but each track proved breathtaking in its own way. Cerulean came out at a time when, thanks to the likes of Flying Lotus and Teebs, glitch-hop was at the forefront of electronic music but Wisenfeld managed to stand out from the masses with an original and engaging spin on the genre.

British producer Aaron Jerome who performs as SBTRKT (pronounced Subtract) has achieved the same feat with his stunning debut self-titled album. As contemporary electronic music continues to draw influence from all different directions the genre game grows more and more farcical with this album likely to be lumped into the post-dubstep category alongside the likes of James Blake and Mount Kimbie. Regardless of its genre, SBTRKT’ is a compelling LP which at various stages boasts a hint of house, funk, soul, dubstep, electronica and just about everything else.

Comparisons with James Blake are inevitable given Jerome’s use of heavy-bass loops fused with his soulful vocals, but SBTRKT offers an approach more akin to Blake’s earlier EP releases than his more subdued self-titled album. Tunes like Wildfire and Right Thing To Do are underground dance floor anthems while the mournful Hold On and funky gem Trials Of The Past display Jerome’s more introspective songwriting capabilities.

Just when you think you’ve got the album figured out pop tune ‘Pharoahs’ makes an appearance with a Dizzee Rascal-esque beat blended with sing along trance vocals calling to mind Katy B’s chart single ‘Lights On’, but better.

Will Wisenfeld was a relatively unknown 21-year old when he released Cerulean, one of the most compelling albums of the past decade. Aaron Jerome was equally anonymous prior to this debut release but you get the feeling he’ll be bringing his exotic headwear to more festivals on the back of what is already, unquestionably one of the albums of 2011.

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Album Roundup

A brief run though of some of the 2011 albums I’ve been enjoying while struggling to find time to write full reviews.

Anna Calvi – Anna Calvi
One of the most hyped artists online so far this year. Bloggers can’t seem to get enough of her. Her debut self-titled album offers something refreshingly different to what dominates the hipster universe these days. Soulful songs which hinge as much on the retro instrumentation as Calvi’s powerful, passionate, unwavering voice. Not one to suit all moods but a thoroughly impressive debut.

Gil Scott-Heron And Jaime Xx – We’re New Here
Having missed out on 2010’s I’m New Here, this marks my first venture into the wrold of Gil-Scott Heron. Jaime Xx has taken his masterful capacity to remake tunes into something altogether different to another level with this outstanding LP. Perhpas a few too many interludes but an undeniably compelling listen sure to make a lot of end of year lists.

Julianna Barwick – The Magic Place
If you played The Magic Place to a 7-year-old kid on his birthday after two litres of Tanora he’d still be powerless to resist the soothing, calming sound of Julianna Barwick. A glorious blend of hushed mystical vocals
and minimal effects. With the greatest respect to the album it’s virtually impossible to stay awake throughout, but the dreams induced are sure to be sweet.

Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes
Probably my favourite album of 2011. This suave Swede knows how to work a crowd live but her talent clearly comes alive in studio too. From danceable party-starters “Youth Knows No Pain” and “I Follow River” to delicate stories “Unrequited Love” and “Silent My Song” this album offers plenty and never disappoints.

The Weeknd – House of Balloons
R&B, where to begin? I mean I don’t hate the genre, but I rarely like it. It’s essentially pop music which piggy backs on Rap to seem cool. Don’t get me wrong I think, there have been butloads of great pop tunes from R&B artists over the years but in general I’m bored by it. The Weeknd (aka Abdel Tesfaye) tick the annoying boxes of overkill on the high-pitched moaning and forced voice-quiver but make up for it in other aspects. Divergence into glithy/electronic beats and samples provides more than the generic R&B sound. It mightn’t be the years most played album but gets points for a fresh approach and some moments of genuine quality.

Adele – 21
It is what it is. A triumph for Grey’s Anatomy fans everywhere but before I get disgustingly pretentious it must be conceded that this young Lady knows how to write a serious pop song. 14 tracks without too much filler and a surprising degree of variety with the LP split between slow, mournful heartbreak tales and funky upbeat numbers like “Rumour Has It”.

Tv on the Radio – Nine Types of Light
It jumps, twirls, soars and washes over the listener at every opportunity, Nine Types of Light is a cracking album from a band that are so fucking cool. Bring whatever obscure tastes you may have to the table and there will be something for you to chew on. A compelling, funkadelic way to spend 43 minutes. Rest in peace Gerard Smith.

Katy B – On a Mission
I’m sure there are plenty people who are sick to their stomach by the mention of the word dubstep let alone hearing the music itself. This is one bandwagon that has gathered amazing momentum but still struggles to offer enough. The internet is plagued by the generic “Woob”  in a remix. Under the guidance on Benga and Skream, Katy B has made an LP better than anything the Magnetic Men have thrown up lately. Singles ‘Katy on a Mission’ and ‘Perfect Stranger’ capture the 21-year old’s knack for mixing a dirty baseline with catchy pop hooks. Half pop half dub this album strikes the perfect balance.

Video: Magnetic Man ft. Katy B – Perfect Stranger

Follow up single to ‘I need air’ from dubstep’s answer to a supergroup Magnetic Man. Just like the first single, it seems to loiter in between dubstep, drum and bass and even at times trance but the result is a banging tune, featuring Katy B, the rising queen of debstep.