Author, is the self-titled collaborative work of Dom Howard & Ryan Gath, AKA Ruckspin & Jack Sparrow. Both these producers have demonstrated themselves as highly talented and well-balanced individuals in their own right, but with the divergence of Dubstep music and the opportunity to explore new head spaces their partnership has produced plaudable results.
Independently each of them have the uncanny ability to tailor there music to the dancefloor or bedroom with similar ease, and have indulged and promoted bass music with rich melodic content, meditative vibes and spacious arrangements. People of a similar persuasion, and heralding from the same town, Leeds, I am sure each have been aware of the others work for some time, but it was not until Jack Sparrow’s debut album, Circadian, that the pair finally found time to work together. ‘Dread‘, their first collaborative track is a hard marching rhythm that must have stirred the creative melting pot, because a little under a year later, we now have an entire body of work being release on Tectonic.
A concise collection of eight tracks ‘Author’ explores the boundaries of Dubstep music, and the convergence of other genres and influences. Employing the use of live musicians, syncopated rhythms and at times slightly alienating textures, the whole album is a pleasure to listen to. Opening with ‘Turn’ sets the pace, and features the only real vocal track on the album. Calming whispers from Edward Thomas are set to a back drop of bellowing low end oscillations and slow sax lines. ‘Sun’ and ‘Revolutions’ continues this melancholic air, keeping the listener embraced in half-step rhythms and sub-bass. Brass is a regular feature, and reminiscent melodies of Miles Davies ‘Sketches of Spain’ or ‘Kind of Blue’ are strewn all over, demonstrating both producers genre stretching imagination and truly innovative approach their music. ‘Green’ and Blue’ featuring Ben Glass is a reverberated soaked affair, and half way through the album. marks the end of the heavyheartedness before stepping up a gear and letting the leashes off.
The aptly named Dashiki, (after the colorful robes worn in West Africa) immediately evokes a tribal vibe with rolling conga’s and heavy kicks, still supported by soft sax’s and staccato strings. It feels like ‘Author’ has picked up his feet, and started to run. ‘Mothership’ is a no holes barred sub-bass monster, with rich textures and as the name would suggest alienating sound design that reminds me ever so slightly of Amon Tobin’s ‘ISAM’. This is a hard hitting dancefloor bomb for the heads down, lights out crew.
‘Fix’ feels synth lead, with cuts, edits and shuffling hi-hats retaining the pace while half-time kicks under pin the melody. At the drop, you get an almost 2-step shuffle going on that, combined with small vocal snippets can’t help but bring a smile to your face. Bringing things to a close is ‘Drain’, which from it dramatic build up and sustained vibe, could have easily been as comfortable at the beginning of this release at the end. Snare rolls and scrapers catch the listeners attention while wistful melodies permeate the senses. In entirety this album is stunningly crafted, and delivers exactly what I believe the artists have set out to achieve. Dom Howard’s work as producer to ‘Sub Motion Orchestra’, a group fusing the boundaries between live and electronic music, has clearly influenced his approach to this release, while Ryan Gath’s energy and skill remains self-evident within ‘Author’s work.