Although it’s been a fair few months since we last heard from Birmingham producer Seams, it’s clear that James Welch has spent the gap perfecting a slight yet significant shift in musical direction, aided by a prolific rate of production.
Where last year’s ‘Tourist’ EP favoured the use of a wide variety of sampled instrumentation twisted into considered compositions, using beats as structural foundations rather than pushed to the forefront, this latest split single appears to be born from a world of live shows in clubs where crowds expect to have their feet moved, and in that respect it appears that the Pictures Music beatsmith has triumphed again.
‘Focus Energy’ is a tight package of bit-crushed synths and choked vocal stabs, a track full of forward motion and determination. Building steadily and resolutely to a head at the 4 minute mark, Welch gives his listeners a slight breather before bringing the beat back with interest. Feet moving objective number one complete.
On the theoretical flipside, ‘Motive Order’ provides a different take on proceedings from Focus Energy’s unwavering drive. The composite elements remain (8-bit synths, ghostly vocal slices, squelching bass), but are rearranged into a slightly scattier 6-minutes, with a pleasingly shuffled bounce in the rhythm to keep the dancefloor happy. A well-crafted breakdown/build-up at the halfway point serves to underline Welch’s skills with arrangement, and the subsequent payoff with the drop leads to an engaging coda.
With Pictures Music’s vast pool of emerging talent – the recent drop from the Liverpool-based Dauwd one frightening example – it’s reassuring to know that the label’s stalwarts are pushing themselves into new and exciting territory. Although the Tourist EP may have once been the calling card of an unadulterated new talent, it seems that Seams also has an element of the musical chameleon about him.
‘Focus Energy/Motive Order’ is released via Pictures Music on July 18.