Friday, December 14, 2012

Submotion Orchestra - Fragments (2012)

Bass, rhythm and soul are still paramount, but from the first few bars of 'Intro', with it's Philip Glass-meets Penguin Cafe pianos, it's clearly evident that the band have broadened their musical palate. It's also also clear they've made this expansion sound effortlessly captivating - ready to melt minds and bassbins alike.
"In making 'Fragments', we started to stretch out from the template of the first album", explains keyboardist Taz Modi. "There's a lot more colour and moods on this record; strings, woodwind and various new synth textures. We followed our noses to see where they'd lead us. There should be enough here to satisfy fans of 'Finest Hour', but hopefully there'll be quite a bit to surprise them as well...;"

'Blind Spot' maintains the lush, expansive sound that made the band's name and adds subtle new flourishes. It takes what was already a sweepingly cinematic blueprint and goes one step bigger and better. With a gauzy synth weaved throughout the mix, you get the feint suggestion of chillwave being on the band's tourbus playlist. 'Thinking' perfectly captures an uplifting summer sunshine, currently missing from our shores. Gnarly bass purrs underneath tight and crisp rhythms, with Ruby Wood's honeyed vocals poured liberally on top. By 'Bird Of Prey' things take a turn down a strange and eerie vista; heavy drama meets the cosmic and cerebral, with a hint of Herbie Hancock-style electronic jazz funk. Wigged-out live favourite 'Times Strange' features the album's only guest vocal, courtesy of Rider Shafique, whose limber lyrics ride over a warped, 50s Sci Fi analogue tone. The darkly psychedelic, growling-bass-opus 'Thousand Yard Stare' epitomizes the album's psych-electronic side, whilst maintaining fully firing live drums, strings and brass. 'Fragments' ends on the reflective note of 'Coming Up For Air', with perhaps the least anticipated addition to the mix; its waves of distorted, electronic dissonance are redolent of more low-fi and laptop-based dance music.Last year Submotion Orchestra released their debut LP 'Finest Hour'. An army of fervert fans formed, resulting in sell-out shows, includingLondon's Scala. They were met with widespread critical acclaim, plus heavy Radio 1, 6music, 1xtra, Resonance, NME Radio, and club support.The band are headlining this years Soundwave and Outlook festivals inCroatia. Their on-fire live show has wowed crowds at Glade,Glastonbury, Bestival, The Big Chill, Lattitude andSecretGarden. Expect big things from a band on a steep upward trajectory, both on record and on stage. 


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