WPGM Recommends: Greg Sawyer – Home (EP Review)

Greg Sawyer Home EP
Defected Records’ own Greg Sawyer is back with a new EP entitled Home, a follow up from Whenever I Try To Leave, this three track EP is another showcase of his deep melodic House sound. For those still not in the know, Sawyer is Defected’s communication man – dealing daily with the fresh releases, interviews and promos; it wasn’t always this way, having started out as an intern a little over 8 years ago. He bought their first record and dozens thereafter, and in recent years, Sawyer can now be found spinning for crowds on Defected nights as well as Glitterbox events when it’s time to leave the office.

Released on Falk at the end of February, the title track “Home” opens with the kind of deep retro style that speaks to all that is great about lazy summer holidays; soft vocal cuts melt effortlessly into a strong synth rhythm – the kind of arrangement that will have you daydreaming about the end of winter and what lies ahead.

Often intimate and obviously thoughtful, Sawyer’s sound isn’t made with one eye on the mainstream, “I’ve never really enjoyed producing music for the dancefloor, but rather use the 4/4 structure as a framework for making music that’s a little more introspective, and hopefully makes you feel something, rather than dance. That said, ‘Home’ itself is probably the most upbeat record I’ve ever produced, but the other two from the EP definitely fall into the category of music I just described“.

Next up is “Caedmon“, an intriguing mix of delayed rhythms and voluminous bass, a melody carried wonderfully by its cinematic ‘Moby-esque’ string arrangement. Deeper down the rabbit hole, “Caedmon”, much like the Home EP itself, is aimed squarely at the deeper end of the club scene, each atmospheric track adding depth.

There is so, so much music these days, and the majority of it seems to be made with the Beatport or wherever charts in mind – it’s more about having a number one and getting loads of gigs from the profile of that than it is about making music purely for the sake of it. At its worst, it’s formulaic and contrived, with a goal that’s really far from what music should be about. I’ve tried to avoid this. I can honestly say hand on heart that none of this music was made with any end-point in mind, other than trying to produce something that people would enjoy listening to“.

Sawyer’s hypnotic leads and spaced out reverbs are common features in his music offering something that is very distinctive in a saturated Dance music soundscape. “I’ve always found it much more appealing to make house music with somber sounds rather than main room bangers, pretty much everything I make ends up sounding a bit sad. Critics (and I’d have to agree with them) would call it ‘house music to fall asleep to’. I prefer pillow house, and when that becomes a thing I’ll gladly claim credit for inventing the genre. In terms of the specific sounds, it’s 90% samples, some of my own voice (I think) and quite a lot of reverb“.

The final track on the EP is entitled “Misunderstood“, exotic in its vocal sample and moody in atmosphere; it’s a great closer to what is an undoubtedly thoughtful compilation. It’s fair to say a lot of labels chase chart numbers, and in Falk, Sawyer has found a place where exploration of the Deep House sound is both welcome and encouraged.

I should also give a shout out to the label they’re being released on. All three of them we actually made at least two or three years ago, and I had pretty much forgotten about them until Henry at Falk asked if I had any unreleased music. It’s been great working with a label as supportive as Falk – Henry seems to enjoy what I make. I think it’s really important for an artist and label to have that kind of relationship”.

While it’s probably not going to be the most bombastic EP you’ll hear this year, it’s definitely a great one for those quieter moments of the week or weekend. A kind of assessment music, that will have you thinking about where you’re going and where you’ve been. Greg Sawyer’s Home EP is out on February 29 via Falk, pre-order it on Bandcamp here.

Words by Akua Ofei

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