SBTRKT – I See A Stair (Feat. Little Dragon)

Album : The Rat Road

Label: Save Yourself
© 2023 Save Yourself under exclusive license to AWAL Recordings Ltd

Seven years after his last album, the acclaimed Wonder Where We Land (2016), SBTRKT returns unmasked. The British musician, whose father is Scottish and mother Indian, has chosen to fully embrace his identity and “reclaim his voice”, which he feels has been somewhat suppressed recently. After launching into the stratosphere as a new British electronic music sensation, SBTRKT has taken up refuge in the studio, and spends his time lining up compositions one after the other. As a result, this album boasts a total of 22 tracks – although he actually sent 400 tracks to his label – and takes the form of a mix tape, complete with numerous interludes and short pieces of less than two minutes.

And clearly, Aaron Jerome has decided to mock the established formats; an intention displayed quite clearly in the single L.F.O.. Jumping from one style to another in the middle of a song, launching UFOs like DON’T LET or YOU BROKE MY HEART BUT IMMA FIX IT, SBTRKT places himself somewhere between Kanye West and Aphex Twin, and makes the most, once again, of a well-stocked guest list. Here, we find the unmissable Sampha, the Californian Toro Y Moi, who brings a touch of psyche to an already very chill record, the trans activist Kai-Isaiah Jamal for a slam, but, above all, the London singer Leilah, who is the record’s ultimate revelation. She can be found on several other titles, including the jazzy/New Age FORWARD and the R&B-style DRIFT. It is one of the high points of an album that may not always seem accessible but on which SBTRKT seems completely liberated.

© Smaël Bouaici/Qobuz