Inspired by many electronic greats, alias_j comes to the fore with an invigorating sonic palate…
Quivver (aka John Graham) returns to Bedrock with not only a brand new album, but a whole new approach too. An example of a revelation is defined as a surprising fact or event that changes the world you know around you. Perhaps that defining event was/is the pandemic that has so cruelly shut down our scene over the last 18 months? With this his fourth long-player, it would seem, John, with so many influences over the last 30 years, has decided to look at things differently, not follow the trends, not go with the popular genres of progressive and melodic. This is in fact Quivver digging up that well-trodden path, and finally understanding his true identity as an all-around artist.
It is clear from the onset that John Graham still has that unique, otherworldly sound, that Quivver sound he’s forged throughout his glittering career. However, instead of focussing that sound on one specific genre, he has turned his hand to as many genres as he can, a ten-track opus that covers ambient, deep house, breaks, electro, and of course progressive. A quick run through the tracklist also highlights the many influences the artist has had throughout his music-making career, influences he uses brilliantly to fine-tune each track just the way he wants it to sound.
‘Midnight Pools’ opens this showcase, and it’s as if the titles to a sci-fi movie were about to scroll up your screen. Dark eerie sounds of the rainforest cascade into moonlight ambiance, it’s a gorgeous beat-less introduction that sets up the rest of the album.
‘Horizons’ offers a wicked off-kilter start that blooms into life 60 seconds in, revealing a bright soft keyboard riff that floats around your head delightfully.
‘Nothing New To Feel’ sees John increase the pace with a tougher chunkier house track, warping those distinctive vocals around it… ’Is it still the same as before? There’s nothing new to feel anymore’, he announces boldly as if pushing aside those boundaries of old.
‘Atomised’ is another beefed-up house jam, replete with more filtered vocals and a rather large rave-charged hook halfway through, its the album’s most distinctive Quivver track so far.
As we reach the halfway point, Graham rolls up his sleeves and demands you dance. ‘FunkFly’ is where the LP comes into its own and leaves me asking… Just where does he get these samples from!? With its layered synths combined with a seriously wonky bass line, this is going to do some damage!
‘Altered’ & ’Shine’ are both breaks led but are as equally different to each other as they are to the rest of the album; tough Hip-hop break patterns infused with a hefty 90’s chord loop and urgent snares on the former; Electro breaks, an angry bass, and added momentum on the latter. Nu-school with an old school influence, ‘Shine’ is a stand-out track.
‘Hold’ is definitely one to listen out for in sets later this year, it has that atypical Quivver blueprint, that uncanny knack of molding an uplifting chord, with a threatening bass or riff, a luscious vocal, all woven around a sharp crisp percussion that works every time.
‘5am’ is just that! The last time this reviewer heard Quivver DJ, was at roughly this time of the morning, so within a few seconds of this dark, throbbing masterpiece being unleashed it’s obvious what kind of track we’re going to get. Graham tips his hat towards long-time influence Maceo Plex on this growly shouty club banger!
Quivver wraps the album up fittingly with ‘Crystals’, only this time choosing to reference long-time friend and collaborator Sasha. Now if this isn’t John’s entry onto a LuzOscura playlist then I don’t know what is. Effortlessly blending old and new breaks, samples, an upwardly soaring orchestral riff of mammoth proportions, all topped with some gorgeous drum and bass clips more oft found in a Skanna set. Epic is the only word I have for it.
‘Revalate’ then is all things to all comers, it’s dark, edgy, hypnotic, and atmospheric; a culmination of 18 months of solid work. Using well-thumbed inspiration from amongst others Maas and Buttrich, Quivver has delivered an album that sees him back to the sound he himself admits he had strayed away from. Bring an open mind to the table, and listen to the revelation unfold. One thing is for sure, from here on in, Quivver just ain’t following suit!
Quivver’s ‘Revelate’ is out now via Bedrock Records. Purchase your copy here.