SBTRKT Wonder Where We Land
Published Oct 03, 2014On his 2011 debut, self-titled LP, SBTRKT, a.k.a. London producer Aaron Jerome, perfected the sound he'd been working toward with his 2020 EP, employing post-dubstep patter and up and coming vocalist Sampha to convey the kind of upbeat London melancholy that James Blake simultaneously perfected. It felt like something of an endpoint — where was SBTRKT to go from there?
As it turns out, anywhere. Wonder Where We Land is an electronic odyssey as deep as it is broad, and finds Jerome fusing the experimental sonics of his Step in Shadows and Transitions EPs with the more songwriterly approach of SBTRKT. Though he traverses forward-thinking hip-hop ("Higher," with silver-tongued rapper Raury), spine-tingling R&B balladry (the Caroline Polachek-featuring "Look Away" and the yearning Sampha-assisted title track) and flickering dance tunes ("The Light," featuring Denai Moore), he does it all with aplomb, engaging his guests as well as challenging them; he coaxes soul-searching out of A$AP Ferg and a shimmying funk number out of Vampire Weekend singer Ezra Koenig.
Perhaps most crucial here is that it all actually sounds better, too. In the past few years, SBTRKT has clearly grown as both a songwriter and a producer; these new songs snap crisply and resonate deeply whenever a track calls for it, making it all as satisfying sonically as it is structurally. Wonder Where We Land is a tremendous step forward both for SBTRKT and for the possibilities of cross-genre exploration. (Young Turks)