Producer’s double EP suggests he’ll have the capacity to dazzle, in time.
Mike Diver 2012-07-18
Berlin-based (but Hampshire-born) producer James Welch has chosen his musical moniker of Seams well. This is music that, sequenced in a DJ set, serves to connect star attractions rather than revel in its own spotlight. It facilitates progress; but rarely does it leap out at the listener in such a way as to suggest surprises are imminent.
Two EPs combined to comprise a debut release for the Full Time Hobby label, Tourist / Sleeper is, inevitably, a release of two halves. The four tracks of Tourist, originally released in 2010, lack the relative individuality of the later quartet. Amongst the initial chimes and fizzes creep shadows of Four Tet and Gold Panda – never wholly distracting from Welch’s meticulous designs, but their presences can’t be ignored.
There’s a Kompakt-ness to Nachtmusik that may stem from Welch’s time in Germany – it possesses a brilliant luminescence comparable to that label’s more music box-y releases. Platz goes elsewhere, sounding like something David Holmes might’ve conjured around 1996-97. Hung Markets, meanwhile, captures the carefully monitored repetition and slow-build architecture of The Chemical Brothers’ Star Guitar, but lacks that track’s sense of purposeful direction.
If Tourist is Welch cribbing from influences, Sleeper is a little more distinct. The Glow throbs with more substance than preceding efforts, and while light on dynamics it makes for a solid segue into something of rumbling rudeness – again, in a DJ set context.
Potential has plenty of just that but doesn’t quite burst into strobe-lit bloom; while the busy Punch ducks and weaves like Rustie’s Zig-Zag with its low end exchanged for wordless vocals. Closer The Long Wait is a contemplative slice of contemporary electronica best suited to quiet reflection.
All of the above-noted reference points are fine comparisons indeed – but they rightly imply a lack of absolutely defined identity. Sleeper is the more striking of these EP sets, and does point towards a bright future for this rising talent. As soon as the stitching keeping numerous influences attached to his sleeves slips loose, Seams may well have the capacity to dazzle.