Somewhere between the percussive instrumentation of a Soundway highlife compilation, and the layered synths of M83 resides Tropics, aka Southampton artist Chris Ward. Producing, singing, and playing all instruments himself, he was quickly picked up by Pitchfork for his "lush instrumentation" and highly melodic, musically literate pop.
Following an EP and critically acclaimed album for Planet Mu, Ward spent 2012 producing remixes for Little Dragon, M83 and Polica. He then brought his voice to the fore on one of the vocal hooks of the year with 'Popup Cinema', the lead track from his EP for cult Serbian/London label Svetlana Industries.
'Home & Consonance' contains four stunning new tracks Ward unveils the signature layers of pads and delicate arrangements, with his voice playing an ever-increasing role at the heart of his songs. In the title track, themes of uncertainty and loss pervade as Ward's engagingly direct vocal confesses "I don't know why I thought I could do this" amidst keyboards swirls and live drums that build then fall away.
Ward says of making the EP.
"I like to think of Home & Consonance as a collection of songs evoking the compatibility of harmony and sadness. Lyrically the tracks are about being away from the ones you love, and the confusion of lust and love. It's emotional and upbeat but also aims to be sordid in parts. I was listening to a lot of jazz and soul music, old and new when I wrote the tracks. I also became interested in making music aimed for listening to late at night. 'Parodia Flare', my first album had nostalgic, summer days in mind, whereas this is something for those summer nights, after the sun goes down when the earth under your feet is still hot."
1. Home & Consonance
2. Courage feat. Gavin Turek
3. Don't You Know
4. Fleeting Haunt
TROPICS @ SXSW
14 March - Lambert's, 9pm
15 March - The Old School, 9pm
They'll hit the UK and Ireland this November.
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Orbital brought their spectacular show to the East Kent coast at the weekend to the delight of a variety of ravers.