Friday, 23 December 2011
Review: Seathasky - The Past In My Mind
Another drum 'n bass album from Offworld Recordings, Seathasky's full lengther The Past In My Mind is considerably better than Scenic & Advisory's bore-a-thon. Adopting a more minimal style, Seathasky fuses the halved up beats and dubstep-influenced big bass swells that are so trendy in drum 'n bass right now with atmospheric washes and lots of melody. Plenty of other people are doing the same thing right now, but this is still relatively new territory, and Seathasky doesn't just dwell on it for the whole time - this album actually has some legimitate liquid on it as well. Listen to Love For You, for example - plaintive, soulful female vocal sample, sombre and pretty pianos, strings and stuff. This is liquid, albeit not quite as upbeat as usual.
There's also something of a controlling idea here, and therefore more of a distinctive emotional mood than just vaguely chilled. For all intents and purposes, this seems to be a break-up album, with track titles like Over, Heartache, Glass Heart and Forgetting You all pretty big red flags, and even the cover art is suggestively poetic. A happy blue sky is visible through a window but the perspective is trapped within some grey, miserable, peeling old room, symbolising how the artist feels figuratively walled off and detached from a happiness he still knows exists. We're putting that English degree to good use here, motherfuckers.
Anyway, as all this suggests, The Past In My Mind is a melancholic but still delicately beautiful record. The minimalist percussion and construction of the early tracks gives way to more complex beats and more developed pieces later on in the album. There's development here, an implication of an emotional journey. This doesn't just make the album good for arty wankers like me to write about, it makes it more interesting to listen to, because there's change and variety and a reason to actually play from start to finish. This is a legit attempt at an artist album, in other words, a release with a reason to put 80 minutes of music together on one release. So many artists just do not seem to understand the point of an LP, they seem to think that making ten decent tracks in a row is enough of an achievement, even though there's zero reason why those tracks couldn't have just come out as separate singles or EPs.
This isn't the best album I've heard all year by any means, or even the best drum 'n bass album. Seathasky is a good producer, but there's not an awful lot I can discern that sets his work apart from a legion of other producers. There are entire record labels that exist to release music that is sonically and emotionally very similar to this. However, this is a genuinely touching record - it makes you feel exactly what the artist was experiencing when he recorded it, and for 80 minutes or so it can influence and even dominate your own mood. It also ticks all the boxes of a good artist album. For these reasons I'm gonna give him a highly respectable bullshit arbitrary number of 8/10, and quite possibly a sneaky entry into my End Of Year Top 20. Oh yes. I'm sure you entire life has been building up to this moment, Seathesky - the point where some idiot with a shit blog that nobody reads quite likes your album! Merry Christmas, dude.
Genre: Minimal/liquid drum 'n bass
Stupid Arbitrary Rating: 8/10