Materia :: Atlas (Slime)

A genuine work of substance from a club producer who has expanded his remit and taken on something wholly more ambitious than a two track house, garage, dubstep, insert preferred genre release.

Atlas is a deep and ethereal album with a huge cinematic sonic geography. Ice covered shimmering alien worlds stretch before you from the outset, lonely treks through desolate landscapes are conjured up with the opening windswept synth pad gambit of “Otherland.” The whole album is a continuation of this opening statement; deep and crisp production with haunting snippets of melody weaving cunningly in and out of moody soundscapes. This is a work of some considerable accomplishment.

From a background of dance floor bangers in styles ranging from Drum & Bass in the early days, through House, Garage and occasionally a bit of Dubstep, Materia (aka Jan Warnstam) learned the trade of dance music production the old fashioned way; long hours turning into years spent working hard in the studio, and it’s served him very well in what has essentially been a career in effective dance floor oriented EDM. Atlas though feels like a point of musical maturity has been reached. Gone are the hard edged drums, driving synths and body moving bass lines that earned him a spot on the Carl Cox Ibiza Future Classics mix of a couple of years ago, amongst numerous other vinyl and digital releases across many labels. Instead there is a much more intimate and considered sound that draws on the skills acquired over the years of club friendly production. Almost every track is a collaboration with an instrumentalist, vocalist or in the case of “Ruins” another producer in the form of esteemed Bristol producer Forsaken. Much more emphasis is given to what I’m going to annoyingly call ‘musicality,’ a vague and indefinite word that in this case alludes to the subtle intricacies that are at play, the emotive effect of texture and melody and the use of many musicians to add real world instrumental contributions. Flutes, organs, trumpets and saxophones all make appearances on the album, and are all played with considerable aplomb. Having said all that, it is still an album firmly rooted in the world of dance music, four to the floor rhythms abound holding the expansive soundscapes together with muted dance floor grooves. You can take the boy out of the club, but you can’t take the club out of the boy—well, maybe you can, but certainly that sharp production so beloved of the club dance floor still makes its presence felt. And that is no bad thing.

As I alluded to before, this album is a genuine work of substance from a club producer who has expanded his remit and taken on something wholly more ambitious than a two track house, garage, dubstep, insert preferred genre release.

Highlights for me include the soundscapey opener “Otherland,” “Grounded,” which features wonderfully haunting trumpet laments of Justin Lewis and the subdued rolling house beats of “Ruins” with the collaboration of Pete Forsaken. And of course, any track with a saxophone on will be a favorite of mine by default, this album has two to choose from!

Atlas is available on Slime. [Release page]

TAGS: , , , , , , , ,

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.