In the past, Brooklyn-by-way-of-St. Louis producer Phaseone– aka Andrew Jernigan– has provided carefully-crafted remixes for Panda Bear, Burial, and Grouper, among others. If Phaesone’s latest LP If I Tell U is any indication, though, the future holds the promise of a lot more excellent new solo work. Displaying a diverse offering of bold, heavy synths, dreamy atmosphere, and mysterious, delicate cracklings of sound, If I Tell U represents some of Phaseone’s best work yet.
A few months ago, the cloudy, cool “Blood Spirit I” provided our first, fitting introduction to If I Tell U (and no, you haven’t missed anything since then, because there is no “Blood Spirit II”). While the album features many standout tracks, the warm, whooshing, vortex that propels “Tangiers” is particularly impressive, as is the polar-opposite chilly vibe of “Hexagon Kingdom.” On “Hunter,” a base layer of deep, guttural synth grounds the welcome addition of light, airy vocals. The undeniably gorgeous “Bianca” mixes the smooth sheen of early 90s R&B with the glitter of an 80s movie soundtrack score. Themes and moods– from romantic to mysterious and everything in between– shift gracefully and effortlessly around each and every corner of If I Tell U. However, the album maintains a signature, cohesive feel throughout.
Each track on If I Tell U is simply titled, yet ultimately rather complex. The album’s dual nature works well, condensing cinematic, expansive electronics into easy to swallow, bite-sized pieces. The (relatively) short-but-sweet tracks are slow, but never tired; introspective, but never over-thought. Most importantly, they’re impressive throughout. A pleasant listen from start to finish, If I Tell U comfortably joins the ranks of this year’s already blooming spring electronic season.
3.5 / 5 stars