Now 20 years in the game, Jimpster is a true grandee of deep house music and undoubtedly one of the bastions of the sound when it comes to the UK. Throughout thick and thin, he has stuck with a classy, highly musical take on the genre, drawing on jazz, funk, soul and broken beat equally to join the dots through its lineage. His exquisite Freerange Records label has risen to become one of the top 5 best-selling deep house labels on Beatport, with an unfaltering A&R nous that has helped the likes of Switch, Manuel Tur, Kyodai and Pezzner all come to fame.
Silent Stars is his sixth studio album—seventh in total—and it finds him in excellent form once again, seamlessly blending organic instrumentation and electronic textures to the point where it’s often pleasingly hard to tell what’s ‘real’ and what’s ‘synthetic’.
As accomplished as Jimpster is across the spectrum of sounds, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that some of the record’s finest moments come when he veers away from the house template he’s best known for. Sylvanshine is a beatless wonder that takes a Floating Points approach to eking soul from a flurry of vintage synth sounds, while Tau Tona pitches sumptuous strings and jazzy percussion against distorted synth delays and undulating bass tones. House is of course well catered for though, with the mystical vibe of the title track recalling vintage Afrilounge with its bouncy percussion before building to a rousing crescendo, and The Power Of The Doof treads similarly spacious territories with a haunting, tribal lilt.
Vocal turns are used sparingly and are all the more impactful as a result. Florence Rawlings provides introspective cool on the stripped back Crave, recalling Crazy P in their deeper moments or Nordic electronic disco, and later sensual tones on the shimmering downtempo moment Everytime. Khalil Anthony’s breathy vocal features on the taut, atmospheric house single Where You Are, and Jimpster’s former collaborator Jinadu returns for The Sun Comes Up, a slow-burning Balearic beauty drenched in mesmeric harmonies, reversed tones and heartwarming piano melodies that makes for one of the record’s standouts.
A sumptuous, engrossing listening, it comes across like an underground electronic album done on a big budget. While I’m sure Jimpster had more resource than many producers working in the field, it’s more testament to his mastery of his equipment, years of experience and skill in choosing collaborators. A class act.