Upon hearing of the upstart of last summer I immediately clawed at my face. Yet another vowel hating alias to confuse my tiny dyslexic mind! SBTRKT, the journophobic man behind the mask has not only concealed his identity, but also his own moniker’s pronunciation from me. Apparently it is pronounced “Subtract”. Who knew? Bstrd vwl htrs.
Aside from any naming issues, he ain’t half bad at making soaring electronic choons. From the off SBTRKT’s self-titled album introduces itself with a wall of synthetic-y goodness coupled with the resonating vocals of Aaron Jerome (as he’s known to his mum). By the first listen of ‘Trials of the past’ you’re into full frontal musical delirium – whilst you walk to the nearest Sainsbury’s with your headphones on to buy some giraffe bread. You *hipster*.
Do not be deceived Spotify fans, the most popular track, ‘Wildfire’ is by no means the extent of this masked mix&loop modern day hero. In fact I’d go as far to say that ‘Wildfire’ sounds like my mum unsuccessfully reprogramming a microwave… In the 80’s.
Barr this track, the album is infectious from word ►, combining chillingly lonely vocals (as in ‘Hold on’) with some well placed beats (prime example: ‘Something goes right’), making you feel about two hand claps away from some kind of mixed up Bollywood Fred Astaire. Exemplary synthetic samples, meaty baselines and multiple layering on all of the tracks makes for this veritable musical lasagne of an album.
One thing this vowelist London-based musician has achieved is his own wish to let his feverish offbeat sound speak for itself. It’s saying get the funk on down.
By Abby Hobbs
Dance Yrself Clean