12 Aug 2020

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Fear Not Want - Album Review: Return To The Source

14 Jul 2020 // A review by Gareth Heta
Fear Not Want (stylised as FnW) is off to a strong start, with this LP dropping hot on the heels of debut release The Waiting last month. While that was an entirely ambient affair, Return To The Source finds Jeremy Graham (aka J Plates) exploring new terrain in the form of classic House music, mixed in with some downtempo and ambient bits. The result is an impressively immersive and frequently emotional journey that stands as a cohesive body of work: a story told; environments conjured.

The opener Daydreaming is a good representation of what you’ll find throughout: a 4/4 House beat, replete with bongos & claps, rich waves of uplifting strings and pads, layers building gradually into a euphoric, summery celebration. Like most cuts it clocks in at over 6 minutes, a long track that doesn’t overstay its welcome due to the expertly shifting arrangement.

Clouds presents another House tune with prominent claps, the chord progressions tending a bit more plaintive as daydreams turn to cruising through the sky. Hints of strummed electric guitar and soaring strings usher the listen along on a bed of fluffy, shuffling beats. Changing things up, Chimera is an ambient piece with a ghostly sheen and haunting echoes. A lopsided tribal drum emerges as the Chimera lurches forth.

The title track Return To The Source, perhaps referring to the influence of classic House on this project (and, on a thematic level, a return to nature) is structured around delay-ridden synth stabs, bouncy claps, intricate percussive elements layering in as the tune develops, building into an uplifting dancefloor workout. Life After Rain comes with a fat, low bass register, insistent 4/4 kicks, bold synth stabs, and sweeping filters. The longest tune on LP, the intensity builds throughout, crashing cymbals punctuating phrases, chirping FX like birds hunting worms after the rain, evoking a San Francisco vibe with the faster tempo and steppy bassline action.

With a prominent crunchy snare/clap, Shifting Sands has a rotating, trance-like central riff, spasms of psyched-out FX, and sparse wind instruments, as we leave the city and venture out to the desert. Leading into Echoplex - another contemplative House track with stuttering hi-hats, finger clicks, washed-out waves of strings, and classic-era synth plinks and plonks. It’s danceable and head-nodding at the same time.

The final stretch of the album is a strong one. Take Me Further is bold minor piano chords, a funky beat, and classic early 90’s rave vibes, with bouncy bass and a cheeky riff sure to push ravers' hands in the air. Dream State, the album’s second ambient piece, places a hazy rattle over delay-drenched piano and a warm bed of strings, a brief reprieve before the climax of New Horizons. This one is downtempo, with crystalline shimmers, juicy synths and a fat, plonky bass sitting atop a slow beat and tribal bongos, gradually unwinding as creeping beams of light shine on a new horizon.

The intriguing cover art is key to accessing this album's treasures: a stone tomb cracks open to reveal shafts of geometric light, hinting at an unseen source of wonder beyond. With its nature-based track titles and recurring use of organic, analog sounds, Return To The Source invites the listener to do just that.

Available July 15th on Bandcamp.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

About Fear Not Want

Established in 2020, Fear Not Want (FnW) is a brand new music project created by UK based, NZ born electronic musician J. Graham.

Created purely as an outlet for experimentation with a variety of styles, influences and ideas, FnW has already delivered a tantalising sonic journey via the To Kill A Cyborg Mixtape, alongside a string of unofficial bootleg remixes leading up to its debut album release The Waiting scheduled for a June 12th release.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Fear Not Want


The Waiting
Year: 2020
Type: Album
Return To The Source
Year: 2020
Type: Album

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