Jessie Ware – Running

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Can you ask the same question about a remix? Simply put, no! Without an original track, what would there be to remix. That doesn’t mean to say that in order to discover a remix you need to know the original. Certainly that was the case with my first encounter (so I thought) with South London’s Jessie Ware.

Driving can be a great time to listen to music for the first time. If something doesn’t grab me on the radio within the first 15-30 seconds, the dial’s getting switched pronto. So it’s probably a good thing that the first time I clocked the Disclosure remix of Jessie Ware’s new release Running it was post drop (circa 1:17). As a rule, I don’t fall deep for 90s influenced, disco beat house tracks. This one however shot straight from the hip and planted itself firmly in my mind from the first listen. I waited anxiously to hear the track again and was rewarded two hours later when I arrived at my final destination, only to sit in the van, eyes closed, soaking up the full glory of what I have absolutely no doubt will become a terrace / dance floor / roller disco filler this summer.

The intro is sparse, like you’re late on in a dream and being woken gradually by a soft voice before being kick jolted out of your slumber. That initial post sleep haze is still in place before the first deep intake of breath, signaled here by the upward sweep into rapid vocals and expanding synth lines. All of this ushers you along before dropping you into an infectious 125 disco shuffle, all soft claps with equally soft vocals. There’s definite power behind the voice, it’s just not forced. The bass is deep and stutters subtly at times. All in all, you’re going to struggle not to be hooked in by this one.

So what of the original? I’ll be honest, I’ve been left feeling short changed before when hunting out an original after being introduced to a track through a super strength remix. Thankfully, this couldn’t have been further from the case with Running.

Having absolutely no knowledge or preconception of what this track may be like, I was in a good frame of mind when I got round to my first listen. At first you think you’ve been sucked into a sci-fi special, that is before the organic kick (complete with a slight rim shudder) beats its way into the track. The next thing to hit you is the soft parp of a horn (sampled, synthesised, I’m not sure, I don’t care, I do love it). The song keeps giving, next up is the beautifully layered vocal, with an even more seductive tone to it at the more relaxed tempo of the original. This continues throughout the track with the addition of simple yet devastatingly hooky guitars, 60s soul style backing vocals and a jumble of natural and artificial percussion.

Listen on the best pair of headphones you can get your mits on because the production values on this track are top, TOP drawer! The way sounds appear in exactly the right place at a level that complements all around it, whilst still holding their own at the same time. Jessie has Radio 1 new boy Julio Bashmore and The Invisible front man Dave Okumu to heartily thank for this. Nice job boys.

Ms Ware’s name is one I knew I’d heard before, but it was only after some iTunes searching that I fully appreciated her presence in the UK scene over the past year or two. She’s previously teamed up with SBTRKT on a few tracks from his (D&V rated) self titled debut. She’s also featured on tracks with fellow SBTRKT contributor Sampha and Bristol heavyweight Joker.

Whilst all being solid offerings, I think JW’s found her home with the sound of Running. And by all accounts that the direction we can expect from her debut album which is expected later this year. I know where I’ll be running to for that one!

P.S. Much love for the video. Watch…

Rustie – Glass Swords

It’s a silly concept really, a sword made out of glass, or maybe I’m missing a trick. A weapon that uses the power of refraction to inflict its damage. Anyway, this discussion is deflecting me (sorry, no more tenuous light based physics jokes) from the purpose of this post. As you may have guessed, I wanted to share with you my thoughts on the debut full length release from one of Glasgow’s golden group of producer/DJs who have been slowly but very confidently infiltrating our ears with their heavily hip-hop influenced, electronic sounds; Rustie.

Rustie

I was moved in a big way earlier this year by the Satin Panthers release from label mate Hudson Mohawke with it’s equal mix of delicateness and dirt. Rustie’s Glass Swords certainly continues in the same vein.

The album doesn’t lead with its strongest tracks, and by doing this you find yourself getting more hyped as you journey through, enticing you to switch the vinyl back to the A-side and ride it out again. The fish hook that reeled me in was the back to back power houses of Ultra Thizz and Death Mountain. The former flips you from frantic fist pumps to a half time shuffle in the blink of a bar, all 808s, power synth stab riffs and mouthed bass. Death Mountain comes in with what sounds like a trance influenced orchestral string section juiced on Four Loko and played in reverse, then breaking down over a light speed tuned drum roll before returning to the almost trademark mouth bass riff complemented with a pan pipe affected high vocal part.

There’s mellow parts too, like the roller dub step shuffle feel of After Light. I say mellow, this song GOES OFF just after the two minute mark. It’s as if a whole Rustie DJ set has been layered into one track; easing you in with a filtered intro, opening you up with a chest shattering bass rhythm, pulling you right back down again before the long (and again trance style) build into the … wait for it … POW huge drop.

The sounds that make up some of the songs I feel could be, dare I say it, annoying, if listened to in isolation. However Rustie’s ability to melt these together into tracks that you can wash the dishes to or run a rave on illustrate the vast appeal that this album has.

Moving towards the back end of the album and All Nite, you can hear the influence of Rustie’s previous collaborations with Bristol’s Joker. I also get the impression that video games like Sonic the Hedgehog might have played some part in shaping Rustie’s musical direction, but that’s just my opinion.

If you fill a stocking with Glass Swords this Christmas, it’s safe to say no daggers will be drawn (I’ve really got to stop with this comedy angle), so why don’t you!

Glass Swords is released by Warp Recordings and is available in all good record stores and online digital outlets.