WotNot deliver the latest in a string of releases from artists who balance the highest craft and skill with infectious, dancefloor grooves, including Glenn Astro, K15 and Deft.
Having built his reputation on warm, introspective organic releases (covered in The Wire, Fact, XLR8R, BBC Radio 3 and BBC 6Music), but also an energetic beat-based live show (which has led to shows across US and Europe), this EP is Alphabets Heaven’s most balanced exploration of these two worlds to date.
Feeling constrained by the finely-crafted organic sound design of Siamese Burn EP and Everything Stays the Same EP, Alphabets decided that the methods were less important than the sense of play and exploring the possibilities of sound. This serves as inspiration for the EP title.
Many of the beats deliver sub-heavy grooves designed for the 12-ft speaker stack, opener Some Movement doing this particularly well. At the same time, the craft and attention to detail in the sound design, along with clever and unpredictable arrangements, make this EP headphone honey. Title track Wander, with its delicate melodies and arpeggios, delivers this especially well.
The two opposing sides are well balanced through the EP’s overriding sound palette, and even come together on Party with its driving beat and deep gamelan-flavoured hook. Mogwai marries the Eastern obsession of mid-noughties R&B with grime sensibilities, while two tracks feature vocalists: the cavernous soundscape of Atomic hosts Segilola’s warm intimate tones, while Say What You Mean counters WotNot boss Charo’s smooth vocals with belly-busting bass arpeggios.
With these influences in mind, who better to take the remix reins than Brainfeeder and Hit+Run producer Mono/Poly? Much like the rest of the release, the remix moves between the playful and dark, with searing synth leads and hints of trap and footwork.
A word from the man himself:
“I never lived in London, which means after heading out there’d be this 2 or 3 hour wait for the first train of the morning. I’d spend this time going on meandering walks through the city, not really knowing where I was going and trying to find the beauty in the details of the space. This is an EP for that
I was feeling a little constrained by always using natural sounds, and I’ve kind of realised that you can create from any source, and it’s really just the sense of play that’s important, of not having any goals, and exploring the possibilities of sound. And this was kind of reflected in my day-to-day life. I’d shed a lot of the kind of pillars that were around me, and was lost. And the only way you find things is by looking around and playing”
Support from a crazy broad range of names including Benji B (BBC Radio 1), Wah Wah 45s, Tru Thoughts, Niall Carver (RTE), Tom Ravenscroft (BBC 6Music), Jamz Supernova (BBC 1Xtra), inkswel, Psychemagik, Opolopo, Seven Davis Jr, Soul Clap, Bradley Zero, Thris Tian