SBTRKT
SBTRKT


3.5
great

Review

by Deviant. STAFF
July 18th, 2011 | 141 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Despite giving off the feeling that he's waiting for something to happen, SBTRKT's self-titled debut is still a thorough stab at greatness

While the shaman-like character of SBTRKT might seem like a relatively fresh face, the man behind the mask, Aaron Jerome, has been floating in and out of clubs for the better part of a decade. A somewhat mythical status surrounds him, his tenure in these buried-down-deep hotspots brief and elusive; though a bona-fide star of the underground circuit, he only briefly tapped into the rigorous formalities generally associated with the beating heart of the underground. But what was once strangled broken beats and gospel-like garage excursions have evolved into something far less tangible with the donning of his now requisite tribal head piece. Not so much choosing to remain anonymous as much as it is a rebirth of sorts, Jerome’s music has evolved out of the streets that birthed it into something more defining of his newly found ambiguous nature. All the obvious stuff is still there in spades (dubstep and cut and splice garage are still given the most longing of nods) but they’ve now become stepping stones to launch off, building blocks that form a rough foundation with which Jerome has chosen to build up off.

With his debut long player, SBTRKT attempts to cash in on the hype that’s been slowly buzzing around his often jarring pairing of buzzing breakbeats and slinky, almost tribal, house. Promises have been kept and the right hands have obviously been shaken as Jerome has pulled out the proverbial goods and found himself coming up trumps with his lonesome brand of club fare. SBTRKT is an album steeped in minimal groove and nervous longing; through headphones he provides the standard assault of stifling bass and the usual squeaks and squeals, but blasting over wall to wall speakers these idiosyncratic grooves become mini anthems, playfully beckoning and hypnotically alluring. He piles on odes and homage’s to a variety of styles and scenes; as mentioned, dubstep and early garage have already played a huge part in sculpting SBTRKT’s sound, but the Chicago house scene and r & b also find their way into the mix, delicately sliding in next to the more jagged patchiness of his urban bass. In a rather rough description you could say that Jerome’s new identity finds itself nestled snugly in between the more complex pop of Jamie Woon and the breathless minimalness of James Blake’s cut up dubstep.

This comparison proves its worth as SBTRKT finds himself playing second fiddle to a number of guest vocal spots on the album, the majority of which come from Sampha who positively crackles over Jerome’s tasteful yet never forceful melodies. His work, particularly on album highlight ‘Hold On’ works beautifully in tandem with Jerome, each artist perfectly in tune with each other, one never attempting to overshadow the other. Jessie Ware continues her career as the UK’s new underground go-to-girl as she cries heartbreak and deliciously pours herself over SBTRKT’s bass-heavy ‘Right Thing To Do’. It’s in these moments, these quiet little sections where Jerome ultimately proves his full worth as a producer to be respected. He works in more subtle ways, more subdued than frantic; he builds backdoors in his beats to escape into, he fills every twist and turn with the most minor of dalliances that always manage to surprise weeks down the road. As a result, highlights come thick and fast, and they remain as such even in the sober hours of the morning, with the pulsing brilliance of ‘Sanctuary’, the drunken soul of ‘Pharaohs’ and the quietly intense and brooding ‘Never Never’ earning the highest marks.

One of the only things holding SBTRKT back is there seems to be a sense that Jerome is holding back; you get the feeling that the album is waiting for something to happen, some kind of revolution or even revelation to take shape. But no such epiphany arrives before the dial runs cold, and even though the end result is a masterful stab at greatness there’s still a small sense of numbness, an emptiness that wasn’t there before. This is merely a notion that rears its head through solitary listens however, being wired in through a PA system the album transforms from a shrinking violet into a juggernaut of thunderous bass and sing along sensation. Recommended fare for people who prefer their drinks cold and their dance floors hot.



Recent reviews by this author
Flying Lotus You're Dead!Aphex Twin Syro
Banks GoddessBurial Rival Dealer
Deadmau5 >album title goes here<Mala Mala In Cuba
user ratings (319)
Chart.
3.7
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
July 18th 2011


32190 Comments


Hold On: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aBsqpGCnlA
Sanctuary: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwU9uOEeW3A
Pharaohs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErYAGQZs8e0

WeepingBanana
July 18th 2011


10496 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

album's pree good

Ire
July 18th 2011


41945 Comments


neg

kingsoby1
Emeritus
July 18th 2011


4970 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Wildfire is my fav track.

Qualie
July 18th 2011


79 Comments


Fascinating..

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
July 18th 2011


32190 Comments


Really? I kinda find 'Wildfire' to be a little overrated

pizzamachine
July 18th 2011


14015 Comments


I still can't decide if I like this album.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
July 18th 2011


32190 Comments


I wasn't a huge fan of it myself when I first heard it. I saw it as a step back from his 12" releases, but it's turned out to be a nice little grower. 'Ready Set Loop' (which was previously released) still sounds a little out of place though

pizzamachine
July 18th 2011


14015 Comments


It's the vocals for me that irk me, they seem a bit weird.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
July 18th 2011


32190 Comments


Yeah they threw me initially. Idk, I don't wanna say that it's the accent (especially in Sampha's case) but it kinda is that + coupled with the fact that he sounds so sad

pizzamachine
July 18th 2011


14015 Comments


For some reason I think vocals like that would suit a jazz or blues band.

DoubtGin
July 18th 2011


6880 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

catchy

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
July 18th 2011


32190 Comments



For some reason I think vocals like that would suit a jazz or blues band.


The blues thing I can kinda see (especially in regards to Sampha) but Jazz, really?


ECRbubs
July 18th 2011


687 Comments


The Wildfire remix with Drake is so dope. Other than that I don't have much interest in this, it's not really my genre and I've heard mixed things.

kingsoby1
Emeritus
July 18th 2011


4970 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i thought a bunch of the male vocals were lame. sbtrkt should produce a hiphop record i think

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
July 18th 2011


32190 Comments


He needs to go back to his more tribal house beats I think

Funny you mention hip hop though, the BBC review called him the possible next Timbaland

Gyromania
July 18th 2011


26494 Comments


Sexy review. This sounds like my cup of tea, I'll check it out whenever I get a chance.

kingsoby1
Emeritus
July 18th 2011


4970 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i feel like i would have enjoyed this more as an instrumental release tbh... would have fit well as a hiphop record. hopefully he's not the next timbaland lol

Calculate
July 18th 2011


1135 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I fucking love sampha's vocals. Hold On & Sanctuary would probably be my favourites. Wildfire is a little overrated yeh but I enjoyed this, like, a lot.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
July 19th 2011


32190 Comments


That's a big ol' 4.5



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy