British producer SBTRKT recently released a new track under the name of “Good Morning” shortly followed by a second offering “I Feel Your Pain“. These along with six more new songs make up SBTRKT’s third studio album since his debut self-titled album in 2011.
The new release by the music project led by Aaron Jerome, has been described as a ‘non album’ as the turn-around of music has been extraordinary, much quicker than the usual album cycle, making it a fast and ongoing experience. It allows the music to be released not long after it has been created, making it so fresh and relevant. This album features a small group of collaborations, most of whom are new partnerships including: The-Dream, D.R.A.M and Mabel and also once again with Sampha.
Aaron Jerome is the leader of this unique musical project, but performs under the project’s name SBTRKT to maintain the concept of anonymity, which puts the focus solely on the music and allows it to speak for itself. This latest project is a seamless mix between the soulful work we are used to from him, especially from his first album, and a completely different up beat, up tempo feel.
The first single to be shared from the album “Good Morning”, is the first of the new collaborations with The-Dream that are featured. The song is characteristic of SBTRKT’s style, with the dark and mood melancholic feel that has come to be expected from the project. The song starts softly and builds slowly, featuring operative and almost organ-like synth sounds as you would expect from electronic music with very minimal percussion. Even the climax, featuring stronger and more intense drums is short lived and the calm is restored, returning to the earlier minimalistic beat.
Second single “I Feel Your Pain” is a collaboration with rapper and singer D.R.A.M, who provides the track with beautifully soulful vocals. They are also joined by the London born singer Mabel, daughter of Massive Attack producer Booga Bear, whose velvety smooth voice is a perfect addition to this slow jazz-like number. The syncopation between the vocals and the synth chords is another feature that creates that smooth jazz crossover.
New collaborations are always exciting for listeners, especially on a new album but I am, as many are, thrilled to see SBTRKT returning to his long time collaboration with Sampha. The pair feature together once again on the album on the new track “TBD“. This piece feels very British and upon first listen, almost regal. There is a horn sound heard from the beginning which mimics that of a fan fare which is accompanied by a solid tambourine beat in a marching rhythm and then short snare rolls, as you would hear in a marching band.
The production and release of the album, or rather non-album, is so unique, that for me, it will definitely be one to remember from 2016. To accompany the album, SBTRKT included a letter, explaining his latest project. In this, he claims that as an artist, he feels strange creating happy music that is not affected by the current affairs in the world.
Listening to this album with the issues and tragedies happening currently, makes it so timely and most importantly so relatable. The fast release after the creation of this music, makes it so relevant and when I listen to it, it is almost like a soundtrack to life at this moment. SBTRKT’s Save Yourself can be purchased on iTunes here.
Words by Emma Exelby