Review: Seb Wildblood - 'sketches of transition'
Seb Wildblood’s productions can be marked by a tender, distinctive brand of jazz infused soul. After taking a turn with more frenetic dance floor engaged productions on EP from last year, ‘Take the Wheel’ Wildblood returns to his more established modus operandi, reaching within himself to produce a deeply-personal and tender full length record. ‘sketches of transition’ is a introspective take on house, ambient and breakbeat from one of the games most intelligent, introverted producers.
The album is aptly named. It is, primarily, a window gazing into the pysche of most twenty-somethings: people grappling with the transience of life. People stuck in a hinterland between youth and adulthood looking for personal definition, reflecting, revising and growing, psychologically in lieu of physically - people in transition. The music, though mournful and pensive, is incandescent with hope and rejuvenation, after all, growth requires pain and reflection.
In spite of its contemplative nature, the sound of the record is dynamic and takes many forms. The opening track and first single from the record, ‘sketches’ is a poignant captivating first taste of the album. Set at a ruminative, ambling pace the song is defined by yearning guitar chords and rolling, varied percussion, both of which, are extremely conducive of vacant gazing out windows. That’s not to say sketches is wistfully shallow, much is packed into it’s four minutes, crooning pads give it it’s Wildblood signature warmth, each listen elicits a dainty smile, is it a happy one or a sad one? For me, I can’t tell. Therein lies much of the beauty in Wildblood’s craft on the record, it’s ability to be deeply personal, yet tacitly, it’s familiar, a vehicle for anyone to take a ride in.
Mauv makes two appearances on the record, on both occasions, to great effect. On ‘thought for food’ the percussion makes strides towards something akin to breakbeat’s gentle cousin. Recorded live rather than sample patchwork, the drums have a rich vivacity and compliment the tranquil pads which form the sympathetic foundation for Mauv’s woolgathering lyrics which beautifully define the angst of many young adults:
‘money is the devil, but I can’t pay my rent, starting to live in fear, of how this could go wrong.’
It’s not all sullen, gloomy reflections though. The record is a collection of moments from Wildblood’s life, each track, inspired from a moment of his life. ‘amelia’ was written on the day Wildblood’s first niece was born. Intended to be ‘a unique time capsule’ for her. Again, Mauv’s lyrics in the song captures the essence of the day, a reverie grasping onto the awesome sensation of fresh life and new kin.
In a change of pace ‘muscle memory’ coalesces breakbeat and 90’s synth tinges for the records most bouncy representative. Despite it’s more rapid percussion and warbling synths, the track is still underlined with immersing, thoughtful pads - assiduous care is taken to ensure continuity in the meditative state is not broken.
Though an intimately personal exercise, sketches of transition does its best not to ostracise its listener, the music, though sonically diverse, is a neatly arranged record, all woven together by the same warm, cozy thread which is inimitably sewn from Wildblood’s hand. The record comes from a personal place but the language of human experience it expresses is universally shared by us all and in listening to the album it’s impossible not to find a common ground and to resonate with.
Seb Wildblood’s ‘sketches of transition’ is released tomorrow, 26th of July.