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White Noise: Vessel – Wax Dance

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Vessel – Wax Dance

Wax Dance


Having only appeared on the scene within the last year, Bristol-based Sebastian Gainsborough is very quickly carving out a space for himself in the overflowing UK electronic scene. His debut 12” Nylon Sunset was an interesting and low-key House deviation, but here on Wax Dance, on the new A Future Without label, he showcases a radically matured sound. This EP is comprised of five brief but deeply atmospheric House deconstructions, with a dusty sound that is entirely unique and a great sign of things to come.

Despite the title of opener Wax Dance, there’s really not a great deal of dancing to be found on this EP. Instead here Vessel trades in warped samples and rich textures reminiscent of the deconstructed sound of Downliners Sekt, where vocal and percussive lines are twisted nearly beyond recognition into a vintage, ghostly sound. On the opener a lilting beat is accompanied by worn snares and fatigued synth washes, before the loops shift towards the close to welcome a clearer bassline and a treated vocal sample buried in the mix. The track lays down a clear tone for the EP that Vessel continues to explore with style.  On second cut James Dean a racing synthline is augmented by an intensely rich percussive field, along with a sinister vocal sample drawn across the sound. The richness of these compositions is a joy to hear, and the deep atmospherics allow for subtle pitchbending shifts midway through the tracks to be taken in the listeners stride.

On Cuba the sound is painted in brighter colours, with clearer synths tracing a bouncey path over shifting percussion before a high-pitched wash introduced in the breakdown dominates the second half of the track. The more colourful and upbeat elements of the track give the image of sunlight filtering through a dusty abandoned room, blending perfectly with the aged elements of the sound rather than sounding out of place or seismically different. On standout middle track Blowback percussive atmospherics and a locked ambient loop introduce a meaty bassline that cuts magnificently through the sound, aided by low-key electronic clicks and beeps. Meanwhile the similarly slow closer (running at a Hip Hop tempo), Trapped Wave, is the brightest of the bunch, with clearer synths and a throaty bassline building to the midway point before a sun-bleached synthline is introduced to gorgeous effect.

Despite the brevity of these tracks, each is carefully manicured with plenty of micro-edits to offer a rich and varied listen, and the complexity and level of polish to these tunes shows a startling rate of progression from the earlier singles released only this year. Here is a collection of texturally and atmospherically unique tunes that hint at a very talented producer, and I can’t wait to see what he has in store for 2012.


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