Shelley Parker - Wisteria (2022)
Tags: #deepdrumnbass #experimentalelectronica
It's rare for this newsletter to feature drum'n'bass, even if there are arguably lots of deep elements in some parts of the genre. The omission is not deliberate, and I do keep an eye on new drum'n'bass albums that come out. They just rarely fit the bill here.
But finally, there is one that does: This gem of an album by Shelley Parker, who was unknown to me until I heard this one. To say Parker is a multi-talent is a bit of an understatement since she is a household name in a wide range of creative fields. She excels in music photojournalism, fashion and fine art photography, DJing, live sets in clubs/galleries, sound installations, and writing scores for short films, theatre, and contemporary dance. Woah.
Music-wise she has built quite a reputation, not least on the London circuit - but also internationally. She has over ten releases under her belt, including one on prolific label R&S. Add to that years of DJ-ing experience - and the launch of her own label, Structure, a few years back. On all accounts, she is manifesting herself as a rising star in drum'n'bass and a cross-over artist that appeals more broadly to audiences in experimental electronica circles - and even in the creative arts outside the music scene.
The album starts with three powerful drum-heavy tracks that might be rhythmically fast-paced but feature deep basslines and long synth pads similar to what you would hear on ambient records—an exciting cocktail.
The album also contains some stints into other genres. Like 'Glisten' that builds on a captivating breakbeat drum pattern and the ravey minimal techno banger 'Deluge.' My personal favorite is probably 'The Faun,' an oddly slow-burning drum'n'bass belter.
'Wisteria' comes out on the UK-based Hypercolour label, founded by Jamie Russell, Alex Jones, and Ste Roberts. Launched back in 2006, it has outputted more than 175 releases, including notable records by Mary Jane Coles, Laurent Garnier, Luke Vipert and Groove Armada, and Alex Jones himself.
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