London-launched musical caravan SBTRKT has returned with a two-disc sophomore musical perspective dossier of love in the dark, dance party fueled future. Primary collaborator and live show right hand man Sampha has returned for several tracks, with Jessie Ware also returning with a new love letter to sing.
On a production level, I feel like this is a big step forward; many of the tracks feel more matured and boast more of the nuances you notice with every producer. Greater creative risk stirs in the albums diverse offerings, live instruments, and fresh collaborations.
This is important in a world where you have to convey the importance of your live show game. Everyone knows live shows and festivals are the future, so giving the green light to more diversification in your album never hurts. Luckily, project creator\producer Aaron Jerome forces onlookers to take this project on an as is offering, owing its life to however long fans decide.
The album sprinkles well-spaced and conceived transition tracks and interludes, Osea (featuring Koreless) being my favorite among the arrangement. Each of them feels different and welcome, lard transitions be damned.
The Light is a cyberpunk pulse of a bleeding lover accompanying Denai Moore’s story through an experience. The pacing is perfect, allowing you to imagine what the lyrics are painting, while also staying atop a haunting heartbeat-like piano tango. Keeping in what seems to be the albums theme of ‘A Love Lost’, it stands out as a favorite.
The fourth track, Higher, is on a similar wavelength with young Atlanta rapper Raury’s relentless lyrical onslaught. On a sci fi level, the effects reminded me of a what an alternate reality one take in Blade Runner might sound like, heavy piercing keys throughout the tale ends of his verses.
I felt Gon Stay was the best and most interesting Sampha featured track (may as well have his own accolade). It’s interesting to see him become an important cog in the machine as SBTRKT makes its way through the music mire. It’s panned out with him, considering recent collaboration on Drake’s album Nothing Was the Same. The full live instrument assortment stays tropical yet cool, steady drums and funky bassline keeping pace for the chorus\mantra.
Jessie Ware’s collaboration on the album, Problem (Solved) held the top spot of my favorites on the album, with elements to make it what I considered the most accessible and well-rounded song on the album. A song of belated admiration, a testament to the ride or die patna in your life. While not quite slow dance tempo, you can turn it up to add groove while getting nice and close on the dance floor.
Wonder Where We Land maintains the key element of balance, offering a finer tuned experience for dedicated fans, with new listeners having much to behold from the project. Many tastes are served here, and it doesn’t surprise me that the album is landing such SBTRKT is making its way through the US before Canada, Germany and beyond.
The album is out everywhere (Spotify ya took a while), so queue it up.
Until next time my friends,