Ross From Friends Family Portrait

Ross From Friends Family Portrait
8
After a handful of singles on various labels, as well as an EP for Brainfeeder, British producer Felix Clary Weatherall (Ross From Friends), has given us Family Portrait, his first full-length, and a very solid debut it is.
 
Full of tightly wound funk-house, beautiful down-tempo interludes, and saxophone solos that suddenly emerge from nowhere, it should solidify his reputation as one to watch.
 
Raised in an EDM-centric environment (his father was a dedicated DJ who toured Europe with crates full of Hi-NRG, techno and Italo-disco jams), Weatherall grew up with a steady diet of dance music, and the music on Family Portrait is a conceptual nod to this. There's the relatively straightforward techno of "Thank God I'm A Lizard," for instance, the faded Italo-disco of "Pale Blue Dot," and the ghost of big-beat haunts his drum banks to a certain extent as well.
 
These influences are refracted through Ross From Friends' distinct vision, however, and shot through with a sort of nostalgic yearning in the process — there are some gorgeous melodies during the album's quieter moments. Collaborator John Dunk's mournful saxophone work contributes greatly to this reminiscent tone as well. Whether he's providing soft accompaniment or wailing solos, Dunk's playing adds real flair to tracks like "Project Cybersyn," and his piercing held notes seem to always arrive at just the right moment.
 
Weatherall has often been associated with a lo-fi aesthetic, but if this is lo-fi music, its fidelity seems fairly incidental — there are more important things going on here. Varied in style, but with a unified vision, Family Portrait is a big success for Ross From Friends, a very personal and authentic piece of work. (Brainfeeder)