After a few years of releasing EP’s, singles and remixes producer and DJ Josiah Gladwell returns with his first full length album, which also marks the first release on Gladwell’s record label Wisdom Teeth, run alongside Facta. The club-centric beats are moved aside in place of a more ambient textural journey of escapism through a rainforest of sound.
The album centre’s around distant and sampled recordings of birds, insects and nature and then building gentle and calming atmosphere’s around them. Like a walk through the rainforest getting thicker the deeper in you go, each track transitions through different phases of adding slow layers of samples, melodies and beats. Taking you away from the world you’re living in and into one of pure calm and space. A perfect companion for staying at home.
Opening track ‘Yelli’ starts from these simple timbral beats, slowly growing out into a jungle-like minimalistic dance groove. Adding layers of pipes, bird noises and bell hits that feels like you’re travelling down a great Amazonian river, watching the nature and simplicity of life surround you. Over the tracks course it doesn’t stray too far away from its original movement, but sets a nice tone for the rest of the album that follows closely suite.
‘Palmas’ is perhaps the heaviest track on the album with its hard hitting drum beat, industrial clanks and high pitched synth drone. It brings back in Gladwell’s club influences and creates the most danceable groove on the album. The falling woodwind in the backdrop incorporates the natural element of the album, but is all quickly faded out just as the track was about to pick up momentum.
One of the standout tracks ‘Bluefin’ builds from a deep synth drone, adding falling rain, bird samples and a glowing distant synthesiser, to make a deeply involved landscape of painted sound. Slowly it gets more chaotic as more ideas are thrown into the mix, sharp synth hits and swirling delays carefully blend together the natural and the synthetic.
The final track ‘Happened’ takes a slightly darker tone to the rest of the album. With a dissonant drone and hints of voices flickering in and out of the background, it creates this strange almost Lynchian atmosphere that marks the end of a journey through these bright and wondrous textures, back to reality. Almost as if man has invaded nature.
Where this album falls short of potential is the slow pacing and sometimes lack of movement within a track. It may sometimes take up to 3 or 4 minutes before a track adds a new idea from the original build up. Each track has a slow climb to its peak, and then fades out just when a new idea might have taken it to a new direction. It doesn’t have to be full of 200 bpm club bangers, but just a spark of something new and fresh, coming in a bit faster.
A promising debut from the UK producer that showcases his soundscaping abilities and world building within a song. If you’re looking for an album to relax with and keep you company during these lonely times, this certainly could be it.