Brooklyn/St. Louis producer Andrew Jernigan aka Phaseone has created a spectacular sonic eargasm. Was he so far mostly known for his remixes – of Burial or Animal Collective, for instance – his new LP “If I Tell U” will put his original material in the heads of a lot of people. Because while those were nice, but too often quite conservative takes on familiar melodies, this LP is an intense journey into Bloopyland, the place we love the most. Well, I just made that place up, of course, but Phaseout indeed takes the best of neighbouring worlds and creates a place of his own.
The LP is a border triangle built of heavy synth layers (almost droning/drowning in it), of smooth delayed hip hop beats and of the reverbed/chopped up vocals of dream pop. All of those ingredients are well know and en vogue right now, true. And this place indeed instantly feels familiar to the listener, but Phaseone gets the mixture so perfectly right that it never becomes boring. The key is the experimental ambient feel to all of it, and it is the reason I am talking about places so much in this review. Ambient music is designed to create imaginary rooms the listener can drift off to. But though the eleven tracks flow smoothly and ambient, this drifting-off rarely happens, because there is too much going on, and most of the songs are just too tightly built around grounding beats and synth walls.
The vocals get used too little though, but then again they aren’t always too interesting when they actually are there. One positive example of vocals use is “Bianca”, which may be the most conventional song on the album. But “If I Tell U” is at its best when Phaseone just lets the synths go wild, and boy, he does that a lot. The last, self-titled track is a favorite of mine and the epitome of synthbleeps. You will need to head over to GvB to listen to that one, and to album in its entirety, as it is only streamed there as a whole before it is released via Adult Swim’s Williams Street Records on Tuesday.