Haunting vocals and deep, punching basslines. That’s probably the best summary I can give you for the debut album of London-based producer and owner of AUS Music CLOSE (also known as Will Saul) – ”Getting Closer”.
2013 proves to be a great year already with producers from all over the world (suddenly?) releasing albums at a rate that’s making it very hard for stay up to date. And then there’s this beauty which in fact makes you stop whatever you’re doing, close your eyes and just listen. And that’s not necessarily because the album’s a good way of chilling out: A lot of these tracks actually could be very well used on dancefloors. It is the contrast in this album that creates an atmosphere that managed to keep me on the hook for hours on end.
On the one hand there are tracks such as the calming opening track ”I Died A 1000 Times” which is both strange as it is relaxing with Charlene Soraia providing the track with her crisp vocals. Charlene, who sounded familiar to me, had a hit a couple of years ago with her rework of The Calling’s ”Wherever You Will Go” I’m sure some of you will know it.
And on the other hand there are more heavier tracks such as the ending track ”Inside”. This album has the UK in its vains with its combination of house and dubstep and you can really see the connection with the releases on Saul’s label. The strangers in this bunch are in the middle of the album as ”Born In A Rolling Barrel”, ”Time Fades” and ”Wallflower” (featuring Fink) take a somewhat different approach. But though these tracks have something different in regard to the rest of the album, even here you see the connection with Great Britain. I’d like to give a personal shoutout for ”Time Fades” by the way, as I love what CLOSE did with the violin on that track. A great energy retainer I’m sure a lot of performers will happily incorporate in their sets.
Warm house is also present: ”O S C A R” was already featured in a very popular podcast by Audiojack a few months ago and is a great track for loosening up your muscles whilst hitting those first drinks of the evening. ”Cubizm” turns things up a slight notch with a tempo-upgrade and that somewhat darker approach. Very groovy. ”Future Love” and ”Beam Me Up” fill up most of the the remaining slots in this 10-track album; the first one being a slow and ominous dubstep track, the latter a slow deep house collaboration with Scuba featuring Soraia once more as the vocalist.
But there’s one track that stands out of this already remarkable and admirable combination of tracks. Those who’ve already listened to it will know that I’m talking about the Tanner Ross & Slow Hands’ remix of ”My Way”. I think there’s a very good reason CLOSE decided to put this version on the album instead of the original; this track is out of this world. It seems Ross took the best of his (in my eyes) great ”Straight To The Moon” EP and applied it on this track to create that wild amount of space. By taking out the beat and boosting that haunting vocal of Joe Dukie, he and his companion Slow Hands did something which is simply amazing.
The appraisal is widespread for this track, and I feel it therefore is necessary to include the ”My Way” EP in this review as well. With the original being a slow jam using only analog instruments and Tanner Ross & Slow Hands providing the eerie vibes, it’s the remixes from AUS-producers Dusky and Midland that hold all the energy. Dusky takes a very energetic approach, Midland creates a more epic variant which blew me away the first time I heard it. Which one to like better I’ll leave up to you.
If you aren’t stoked about CLOSE by now, I don’t know what will do the trick. In my eyes he pushed himself right to the top with his excellent productions, even though most of the tracks hold some very distinct aspects from the collaborating / featured artist. Choosing who to collaborate with and who should remix your tracks can be a tough job just as much as creating the original that inspired them. Saul did a fine job on doing both and that deserves respect. Let’s hope he’s got more where that came from!