Thursday, July 21, 2011

If you like Katy B, give this a try: SBTRKT, “Pharaohs”

It’s blast furnace-hot outside right now, and something about the temperature has made me want to listen to cool, sleek-sounding music until I can run and bike without melting. A little while ago I wrote about Katy B’s “Movement”, a great example of a streamlined take on modern pop that incorporates the sounds of recent UK dance trends. SBTRKT’s “Pharaohs”, a cut from his brand-new debut LP, accomplishes the same seamless merging of pop approachability with less familiar styles.

"Pharaohs" draws from the realms of both house and UK funky. The song’s opening seconds bring a tangled web of processed vocals and minor electronics to the forefront. This builds to a fantastic moment where the song’s drums emerge to coagulate all the moving parts, and the glittering synth melody pops in like a blown bubble bursting on a finger. Shortly after, Roses Gabor’s smoky, detached guest vocals enter the fray. Her contribution reminds me of Katy B’s vocal work; they both deliver calm, understated performances that accentuate their backing instead of undermining it. 

If you’re looking for a breath of fresh air to help blow away the stale summer heat, “Pharaohs” is a great choice. Stay cool, everyone.