EPs seem to have highlighted the best music of this year, giving artists a place to develop on a collection of ideas that work as a whole whilst also being strong individually.
SBTRKTs New EP “SAVE YOURSELF” is a perfect example of this, a strong collection of tracks that work as a part of a whole without any filler. The EP opens with “GEMINI” a mood piece that introduces us to the pallet of sounds and the feeling of the EP before we really get rolling with my track of the week “GOOD MORNING”.
Sampled Brass sounds lead this track, they call out for strong percussion but this is kept to a minimum until the last third of the track. Stripping away the drums and bass of a track is something that is currently popular in many genre of Dance music. It allows the midrange details to shine through which are really well constructed in this instance where nice synth and vocal gestures provide interweaving melodies with the main Brass samples.
When the Drums and Bass hit they really drive the track providing the power that we expect from EDM however they are brief, covering only 8 bars of the whole track. The scarcity of the drum line is something I remember from several other tracks including crystal castles “fainting spells”. On repeat listens the piece becomes all anticipation, a continuing build for its conclusion. I find this highly compelling although I could see others viewing it as slightly frustrating. Taking away the club from the music in exchange for something more suited for the EP.
These newer forms of arrangement are pushing the many genres associated with electronic music forward in ways that break out of what would be a traditional club track. I think this is partly a response to modern technology. As DJ software and hardware gets more advanced allowing skilled users to loop segments of many tracks to create something new. DJs are no loner cross fading one track into the other. Instead they build their sets by taking small loops and sections of tracks to make them suitable for the club.
In turn producers no longer need to make tracks that suit the club in their entirety. They can try new styles of arrangement and yet still get sampled, clipped up and played in the club environment. GOOD MORNING fits this style, developing SBTRKTs sound in a new direction whilst keeping his high production standards:
Soundcloud TOTW Playlist: