Wolf Music have had a significant impact on British House music since their humble beginnings back in 2009. The project started, like most imprints, as a platform for the camp to express their undying love for electronic music, chiefly House and Disco. Greymatter, AKA Graham Luckhurst, has been a part of its growth from the very beginning alongside Medlar and his brother KRL. Holding true to the ethos of real House culture, they have consistently tried to follow the essential aesthetics from the nostalgic sounds of the 90’s to the more modern interpretations.
After the success of Wolf’s debut LP ‘Sleep’ from Medlar back in October of last year, Greymatter brings forward his first full length effort with the ‘Visions’ LP. Where Medlar presented plenty of live instrumentation and undeniable vintage Jazz and Disco influences, Greymatter looks to the future with this album, in what can only be described as a utopian nod to nostalgia, destined for the summer. Working closely with singer Sophie Brown, the album exposes the breadth of his styles and visits the more thought-provoking side of his production as much as it does the dance floor. It is in essence a journey. A journey navigated in soulful style by a House and Disco enthusiast.
The production seems to be split into two categories in which we see Greymatter visit the slower Disco-leaning side of things as well some straight up House anthems. The more down-tempo production sits between 100 – 115 bpm and it is here that he is able to experiment a bit more with percussion and synth work. The opening track ‘Get up for the Beat Down’, for instance, presents an interesting side to his production, strewn with broken rhythm and bizarre bellowing samples. So too is the closing track ‘Overload 101’; nothing really kicks off and this was clearly the intention. Both stand as more of an expression of his love for broken beats and synth creation than solely a club-friendly effort. The second track ‘Night Soldier’ however is a lot more constructed and will undoubtedly be at the epicentre of summer sets. With plenty of bubbly synth work and uplifting vocals, the track conjures up memories of 80s Pop ballads whilst remaining effortlessly current. The only other track on the album that sits below 115 bpm is ‘Cream’, and even though it is one of the slower pieces it lends itself to the world of House more than anything. Built around a collage of repetitive vocal stabs and persistent keys we can’t help but create connections with 90’s House classics such as Hardrive’s ‘Deep Inside’.
If there’s something overtly evident in this full length it’s that Greymatter has kept a soulful theme running throughout, regardless of bpm and depth. Sophie Brown’s hearty vocals are scattered throughout the album which, coupled with his magnetic synth work, creates his own modern interpretation of House. It’s this combination that, for me, is most infectious about his work. From the coupling of the inorganic vocals and prominent bright stabs of ‘Straight Billin’ to the distant wailing and progressive arpeggiated chords of ‘One for Pepe’, ( Bradock?) he seems to have stumbled across a captivating formula. Surprisingly for some, the closest he gets to Deep House is on the track ‘Tief’ in which an electric bass slowly builds alongside recurrent vocal jabs. It’s not all out “Hot Creations” Deep House though, as his ephemeral, utopian aesthetic rises above some of the more simplistic qualities of today’s “festival-strong” anthems.
The two tracks that- for me, stand head and shoulders above the rest encapsulate the most infectious qualities of his production mentioned earlier. The title track, for instance, presents a delicate balance between vocals, progression and tempo; perfect for home listening but equally as effective on the dance floor. The same can be said for the track ‘Give Up Never Gonna’, in which Sophie Brown’s voice is given a bit of room and really stands on it’s own. It presents a brilliant fusion of influences and moments in time from the nostalgic piano hooks to the modern UK funky swing of the percussion. Keeping this in mind, as an album and journey, it’s a fantastic first effort and only brings us closer to understanding what the Wolf camp are really about; a fusion of their love for vintage and contemporary sounds. Now sitting with baited breath, we can’t help but be curious as to what the team’s next project will entail.
‘Visions’ is out now on Wolf Music. Order the album here