Almost a year ago we were in almost the same position we find ourselves here, marking the release of a Vince Watson album. This year Watson goes in a different direction, debuting his Vincent I Watson pseudonym with something special - an ambient album. Whereas 2012's album, 'Every Soul Needs A Guide', was a soul and jazz infused dance-floor burner, this year's 'Serene' is a fluid, emotive affair of mystical and orchestral trips that draw the listener deep into a rarely championed area of electronic music.
Watson’s eight albums is a huge library of music by anyone's imagination and well beyond the capability of most producers. So to still be able to create such a brilliantly crafted and mesmerising album after so much output shows the depth of talent we're talking about here. Last year this writer shortlisted 'Every Soul...' as one of the albums of 2012. This year's album should rightly slot in alongside some of the best electronic music creations of the past decade.
It's a little hard to explain this sort of ambient, atmospheric music in dance terms or without making direct comparisons to similar efforts but Watson's pre-electronic music training at the Royal Academy for Art, Music and Drama in Glasgow shines through here. The quality of composition - the layering of instruments, variety of moods and effortlessness - is something special. The title track, 'Serene', is a ten minute piano expedition backed by soaring pads, while 'Abyss' evokes the exact imagery the name suggests - a cavernous soundtrack fit for a mission deep into the ocean.
When comparisons with other compositions simply can't be avoided it's fair to say some tracks here, 'Re - Contact' for example, could substitute for compositions on Vangelis' 1982 soundtrack for Blade Runner and most people would be none the wiser. And, while quite different, the album has a similar “mystical journey through time and space” elegance that Jeff Mills’ re-interpretation of the Metropolis soundtrack had back in 2000.
It’s being released on Radio Slave’s new Pyramids of Mars label which is dedicated to cutting edge audio and visual art. On the audio side of those aims at least, they couldn’t have done better than this.
|Artist: Vincent I Watson
Title: Serene LP
Label: Pyramids of Mars
Tracklist01. Hidden Behind The Eyes02. Placid03. Sagitaria04. Re-Contact05. Serene06. Out of Reach07. Celtic Beauty08. Continuum09. Abyss10. Open Your Eyes
Our rating: 9/10