Published Sep 21, 2016SoundCloud regulars might be familiar with Brighton-based producer Sebastian Carter's reliable track record of remixes and singles, and while his City Lights EP delivers a few tracks like these, its real appeal is in its instrumentals, on which he carves out a more distinctive style.
Instrumentals make up half of this six-track EP, and stand in opposition to the more structurally rigid numbers that are clearly vehicles for their vocalists, single-ready and machine-tooled to hopefully edge into the charts. The quest for crossover appeal is understandable, but sticking so close to formula can lead to rote dynamics and uninspired arrangements.
The title track suffers especially from this. It's tight, professional, Kaskade-esque vocal house that ticks all the boxes and is pleasant enough, but it's just too familiar to be memorable. Fans of L.A. singer-songwriter Wrabel will find something to like in the Atonal feature "Unlock," but far more interesting is the three-track instrumental core of City Lights. The satisfying deep house production of first single "Shallow Waters," which skilfully shifts into '80s territory and back, is a particular highlight, while the piano-led descent and build in "Views From Above" impresses as well.
It's during moments like these, where the productions are allowed space to grow and breathe, that Carter's skills can be best appreciated. He has a knack for making his electronics bubble with an appealing warmth that belies their synthetic nature, and they remain the most noteworthy elements of the EP, regardless of who's on the mic. (Independent)