It’s been nearly a year since we (belatedly) wrote about SertOne’s wonderful “The View From Above” EP on Melted Music. In the intervening twelve months your boy has put out a compilation just cause he could, dropped a Dilla tribute EP and gone touring around Ireland with the Lightbox crew, not to mention a heap of other gigs across the British Isles. He’s not been slacking on the new music front either, as next week sees the release of his latest effort, the “Shapes In The Sky” EP.
It comes to life wistfully – does he do it any other way? – with “Further Down (From Here To There)”, a track full to the brim with panned guitars, squelching bass stabs, hypnotic synths and lovingly crafted vocals. Those bleeping synths go off on their own as SertOne finds his voice as a virtuoso keyboardist. Each phrase expands and develops on its predecessor, giving the track an organic feeling of exposition and recapitulation. “They Call” takes that well worn but always appreciated Ini Kamoze sample, at half the tempo you might be used to hearing it this weather. The rest of the track kicks it at a very lackadaisical tempo, as languid arpeggios and looming sub-bass drip with the sweat of a burning summer’s afternoon, while an ominous repeated firearm sample lends a tinge of menace that corresponds with the common misconception of Kamoze’s lyrics.
The EP’s centrepiece is undoubtedly the seven-minute “Breathe”, featuring the vocals of Young Wonder’s Rachel – the track’s even got a video. Cot damn. It’s a different tempo again, taking it way down to 80 BPM. The lengthy track is, to our knowledge, Sert’s first fully fledged collaboration with a vocalist. But Sert being Sert, he doesn’t let anyone steal his shine. It’s quite remarkable, switching from breathy, emotive abstraction to vocal shredding and hi-hat-enabled tempo manipulation. Rachel’s vocals are twisted and torn, ripped part and morphed beyond the point of recognition as arpeggiated bleeps and snarling acid slabs hover about above and below: those hi-hats switch the track from a straight 4/4 into 12/8 and back again. It’s a subtle but effective shift in swing and mood, but one that leaves you alert and unsettled enough to take notice, never allowing the listener to fall peacefully under this track’s spell – in other words, don’t sleep. Rounding things out are the darkened, almost trance-like chords of “Lego”. It’s not a million miles away from the snarl of “Scattershot” from “The View From Above” in mood and execution. It’s as if that earlier track went on a diet and came back a year later leaner, darker and hungrier. Which I guess could be said for its creator too. SertOne has done exactly what we hoped and expected he would, learning and growing as an artist, but sticking to what he’s good at. And for that we thank him.
Stream: SertOne – Shapes In The Sky EP Preview (Melted Music)
SertOne – Shapes In The Sky EP is out on Melted Music on July 16.