SBTRKT the mask and you still have the smooth...

SBTRKT album cover
SBTRKT performing live SBTRKT behind the mask SBTRKT spinning a live DJ set

It's pronounced "Subtract" but this Batman of the UK dance scene is making additions to his resume this year...

Up until now, DJs and beat lovers mostly knew this south London producer for some high-profile remixes of the likes of M.I.A., Basement Jaxx and Underworld, but this year the man behind the mask drops his full-length self-titled album "SBTRKT", and it is a smooth journey across genres which definitely brings him into the spotlight. Opening with a musical sunrise called "Heatwave", it swells to the occasion with chirps and building vocal swells to knock the sleep out of your eyes and prepare you for two of the albums strongest cuts. "Hold on" featuring Sampha’s stunning vocals is one of the most moving anti-love songs of the year with him crooning "You’re giving me the coldest stare / Like you don’t even know I’m here" as if he sang it on his knees in the studio, while "Wildfire" featuring Little Dragon's Yukimi Nagano is a potently heated love song that sends embers shooting out of your sweaty speakers. Follow those with the subtle disco-tinged dance floor beauty of "Pharaohs" featuring the impassably glossy vocals of Roses Gabor and the deep dubby embrace of "Right Thing To Do"  before dancing around the fire with a Moog swell and string plucks to the tribal bounce of "Go Bang". The pace of the album mirrors his DJ sets, bringing in emotion and power at just the right moments but also leaving space for the listener to reflect on the sound, layer after sweet soulful layer. Preferring anonymity so as not to detract from his music, SBTRKT has put together a superb debut release that showcases a fluid post-dubstep sound not unlike Burial and leaves the listener yearning for more than just his name after a remix.  Not to say he is done with that end of things; he cranked out a smokey glitchtastic rerub of Radiohead's "Lotus Flower" for the TKOL RMX7 album shortly after the release of his album as if to say, "Don't worry DJs.  Wherever there is a groove needing to be wrapped in velvet, I will be there...the man behind the mask".

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