The new Joy Orbison album is ridiculous. I mean that in a good way. I just woke up from a mad snooze and it turned up today after I ordered it so I’m sitting here in a haze after listening through it once and thinking this is the perfect state to listen to it in. The music is sort of hazy in a good way. The album kicks off with the track ‘w/ dad & frankie’ which is his dad and mate chatting about old clothes they used to wear. This sort of feels fitting as its a nod backwards but sitting on a future soundbed. This to me says it all. The way his music can look backwards to original garage drum and bass drum patters or whatever but its the music that keeps it sounding forwards.
’sparks’ is the first track proper on the album and is Joy Orbison just making perfect music for now. It's got roots but then weirdly also sounds rootless. From nowhere but somewhere. It finishes with the line ‘the second you just change the language to mixtape nobody cares’. Though thats sort of what this is… A pretty amazing mixtape touching on all the areas he calls home. NTS relative poet James Messiah is on the next tune chatting about how they grew up on grime before the track develops and a long sweet pad comes in to drive the track home. Next is ‘better’. This one could just be massive and is the obvious single from the record. Featuring the vocals of Léa Sen its just perfect deep house. She sounds gorgeous. The music keeps it simple with congas but doesn’t sound old and its just flipping brilliant. He then takes her vocals and loops and tunes it into harmonies around the original vocal.
Next up comes ‘bernard?’ which is like a trap beat but the melodies and synths take it into a melodic space. ‘runnerz’ is Orbison playing with bass and space. Not tons in the track but I bet it’d sound heavy on a big system. The album moves on from here in various beats and peaces. Space is kept in key with the air left so everything can breathe showing its relation to dub. ’s gets jaded’ mangles some little melodic hits and glitches with ‘froth spinning’ sounding like a modern take on an early Autechre record (fuck yeah). Play loud. ‘layer 6’ takes drum and bass and puts it through the Orbison lens with those woody snares and hits before the vocals and bass drop. ‘in drink’ starts bringing it home again touching on an early Aphex sound (think Ambient Works). I’m aware comparing one musicians work to another is super lazy but it quickly lets you see where the flag is in the sand. ‘playground’ comes with a vocal from Goya Gumbani and is like a hip hop tune on a mad piece of sound design with ‘born slipping’ bringing it home and full circle with some (what sound like) family members chatting about homes and an area they're from or have been to. I could get poetic at this point but its not my style tbh...
Alright to round off ’Still Slipping Vol.1’ is just (I say it again) ridiculous. It’s modern, melodic, spacious and so well done. The production has a style and warmth of its own and the sound design is properly good. He’s kept it tight. It never outstays its welcome and just delivers on many levels. I can see its getting played a lot in my house and if you’ve got any interest in quality modern music then I recommend.
‘Still Slipping Vol.1’ by Joy Orbison is out now on XL records and will only cost you about £15. Buy it. Support the good stuff.