02 November 2020 (released)
20 November 2020
Dreams, beyond they're outlandish circumstances and wild imagery, are characterized by their ability to cut instantaneously from one situation or reality to another in a split second or blend multiple realities together. That's often why it's hard to remember dreams, your brain naturally wants to create a story going back connecting A to B to C in order to place memories where they belong. However, if your senses of logic and time are disrupted, it's much more difficult to retrace your steps within your mind. Artists have always had a fascination with dream spaces and therefore have tried to convey this sense of logical disconnection and reattachment through their works. Psychedelic film or music will often cut abruptly or feature layers that distort start and endpoints.
The work of solo electronic producer SofaTramp features a pastiche of disparate styles and textures underpinning sliced and diced vocal samples whose message remains just out of reach in the ether of the soundscapes. From his humble space in London, he explores a kind of unconscious journey by using the language of “post-disco, mid-tempo house, Detroit techno, dub, breakbeat, electro, rare groove and soul, downtempo, pirate garage radio, jazz-funk, glitch and elevator... with some sludgy hip hop vibes thrown in for good measure”. What we are given is a jumble of puzzle pieces trying to be put together by a logical brain. Despite the disjointed nature of the material, the songs are woven together seamlessly into a hypnotic post-modern groove.
Deep flute-like vocals, brassy cymbal hits, and shifting synths comprise the signature of the opener 'Get Yourself Together'. Whirs and sizzles come and go like star-wipes whisking us from one space to another. 'It's So Hard to Reach You' ebbs and flows with the onslaught of woozy synths. A bright 80s feel is warped by queasy downward chord changes. Onlooking beings twitter in an alien language in the background. The album's general theme of alienation and dissociation plays out in a light and danceable manner.
M.O.T.U.'s vibrant shifting arpeggiators and airy fizz synths recall the pulsing lead line from Underworld's 'Dark & Long-Dark Train'. Philosophical musings pepper this propulsive euro house track. 'Forever Alone' doubles back on itself with confused intervals and missteps, echoing the frenetic mental state of prolonged loneliness. Odd modalities drive 'Wet-Notes' on its chopped neo-soul journey as vocal samples are spliced with fuzzy synth stabs backed by smooth cosmopolitan electric piano. The album wraps on a bright, goofy note with a TV announcer reading out breakfast menu items alongside excerpts from the Ikea catalogue, scored by snappy fashion show electronica. The whole thing has a bit of a Dust Brothers vibe echoing Jack's exposition on the “Ikea nesting instinct” in Fight Club.
'Wax On' gives us a collection of flashes into the 21st-century mind. Surrounded by screens and bright lights, teeming with consumable opportunities. This also engenders a certain new brand of isolation that humanity has never before experienced. This new world can only seem to be properly represented by a fractured collage of sounds and scenes. SofaTramp has created a captivating reflection of our circuit-led world.