As exciting and breathless as our current UK dance scene is, it’s not too often that you hear a new producer bubbling up who sounds like a true original. This is exactly why Leon Vynehall, despite having only two releases to his name, has attracted such attention in the last year, showcasing a soul-inflected selection of dusty, detailed jams that are situated somewhere in the fertile territory between bass music and the current house revival. His debut on Well Rounded showed a sonic warmth and a natural eye for groove, while the follow-up on George Fitzgerald’s ManMakeMusic took things a step further, establishing his individual voice that eschewed hard beats for rich sonic complexity and heaps of atmosphere.
Vynehall returns to Well Rounded with the Rosalind EP, another lush collection of near-dance tracks that showcase his rare talent at combining smooth textures with a notably rough analogue edge. Opener Untitled 017 is Vynehall all over- his distinctive ticking hi-hats welcome a warm synth wash and roboticized vocal snips. There’s a wealth of detail on offer, from one-off atmospheric ticks to fidgeting synth stabs to rhythmic somersaults. Yet these nuances only ever enhance the sound, never distracting from the burbling bassline and gliding chords that draws the listener inexorably into the rich sonic field. Second cut Title #7 is just as impressive, a pitched-down vocal providing an intoxicating hook over deep piano chords à la Gold Language. It’s all complimented by Vynehall’s trademark skittering percussion which always achieves the canny trick of adding real energy to the languid bass bounce without ever making the sound feel nervous or twitchy.
Brief closer Rosalind is a lush, woozy tune in the vein of Vynehall’s superb Picture Frame, where a narcotized vocal treads a soulful path over a slo-mo loping beat pattern and a lazy bass swagger. It’s a distillation of that perfect, blissed-out warmth that Vynehall seems to conjure so effortlessly in all of his material, a pitch-perfect synth melody weaving across the track’s second half. Everything that makes Vynehall’s music so special lies in his ability to reconcile opposites: angular beat patterns with deep, funk-indebted basslines; sunny, psychedelic melodies with melancholy, nostalgic vocal lines, and a canny ability to hover right on the edge of the dancefloor with a sound as richly detailed as it is utterly his own.