Wonder Where We Land
To most of us, music lessons at school were an opportunity to just doss. A core few half listened, and the minority signed up to orchestra. Quiet, Oxford-born prodigal music producer, Aaron Jerome, aka SBTRKT, listened to what we were all taught but never blew his own trumpet. Now signed to a major label, his disdain for the fame-hungry, consumerist attitudes of the music industry remain key.
Obscured from recognition, fronting signature native society ceremonial masks and shying away from interviews, he is the post-dubstep electronic puppeteer creating mysterious, masterful, anti-commercial sound mantras. Remember how his self-titled debut album, released three years ago, received the stamp of sonic excellence from lead game players in hip-hop and dance? Drake to Kanye, Mark Ronson to Radiohead, artists the world over were nodding to along to the British beatsmith, so it is only expected for the bar for LP two to be set way high.
Finally ready to release his consecutive and massively anticipated 15-track classical, acoustic, electronic, garage, house and soul-licked second album, via Young Turks/XL, the former Fabric DJ-turned-worldwide headline act truly smashes it out the park with Wonder Where We Land—a brave, explorative compilation of wide-ranging musical genres. Evolving the key conceptual elements of his music, 2-step, fidgety, trance-like constellations layer SBTRKT's new offering of emotive, music-themed poems. Narrated by long-time collaborator Sampha and guest vocalists Jessie Ware, Denai Moore, A$AP Rocky and Ezra Koenig, each song tells a unique story. But it's the pairing up with fast-rising, obscure talent Raury on "Higher", that SBTRKT's moment of pitch perfect production is realized.
Recording this cohesive, live-designed LP over many months, most of the set's cuts have been constructed with a featured vocalist. Organically conscripted in, involved from the ground-up, these collaborators bring their own unique take on the inimitable SBTRKT sound. Working with Vampire Weekend's Ezra on "New Dorp. New York", the duo do modern warped Gil Scott-Heron on an echo tripped ting. "Problem Solved" is co-written by Jessie Ware, and both the singer and instrumentalist go to battle for lead with fades and levels flipped in reverse. Intentions on production are universally reactive.
Keeping his number one influencer, Radiohead, the focal point of creativity, mournful, haunting melodies interlock each album track. Booking back-to-back tour dates, showcasing his fresh and challenging, synth-centered new sound worldwide, SBTRKT's atmosphere descends on the insatiable world of new music. Wonder Where We Land is more than music, though. This album is pure magic. Play late at night, early in the morning, angry, horny or happy, the musician's noise adds to any and everything.