30 August 2011
Story by Andrew Reinholds
Artist Aaron Jerome is joined by a number of guest vocalists to deliver eleven tracks that take in a bewildering array of influences.
Aaron Jerome – aka SBTRKT – is the man behind the mask and has been drifting in and out of the UK club scene for the better part of a decade now. As a result he has built an almost cult following which has seen him remix artists like M.I.A. Mark Ronson, Basement Jaxx and Underworld – a more than impressive list for a guy only just now releasing his eponymous debut album.
And what a journey it is. Released on the Young Turks label (briefly the home of The XX and Holy Fuck) Jerome is joined by a number of guest vocalists to deliver eleven tracks that take in a bewildering array of influences, from drum and bass, soul and R‘n’B through to dub step and Chicago house.
Fellow label mate Sampha features on five tracks and his voice is a perfect foil for Jerome’s wonderfully subtle production, which is full of detailed twists and turns that continue to surprise after repeated listening, particularly on ‘Hold On’ where Sampha’s despair “you’re giving me the coldest stare, like you don’t even know I’m here” is pitched perfectly with Jerome’s intricate soundtrack.
Next up is ‘Wildfire’ that features the soaring vocals of Little Dragon’s Yukimi Nagano and is a major electro-pop mood changer with its Nenah Cherry like swagger and pout.
Other highlights include ‘Right Thing to Do’ which this time features fellow Young Turk label mate Jesse Ware, with its twisted bass and thumping machines “such a hurricane trapped in my soul and I can’t explain” and the stylised piano noted disco throwback of the Rose Gabor fronted ‘Pharaohs’.
Big beats, catchy choruses, bubbling rhythms, eclectic, textured and intelligent, Aaron Jerome has taken from a wide range of sources and delivered a crispy fresh album that simply shouldn’t work, yet somehow makes perfect sense.