A brand new album from the downtempo & breaks maestro.
Around 2005, Nick Brennan rose to prominence with ‘Circuit Breaker’. A masterpiece of ambient/downtempo in its own right, the album became a cornerstone of the genre. Fast forward some 15 years later, and Tripswitch has now become a progressive house sensation as well, with some of the most eye-catching original productions and remixes in the game. He’s now the head of two labels known as Section Records, and the highly acclaimed ONEDOTSIXTWO, and works with names like Nick Warren & Hernan Cattaneo, just to name a couple. Now, he’s back for his fourth studio album, taking a detour from the Iboga-released ‘Vagabond’, making a most welcomed return to his more laid back roots with ‘Memento Mori’.
This new record is a gargantuan effort that spans over 12 selected cuts, featuring a unique palette of sounds and colors unseen before. The album opener, ‘Petrichor’, works like a charm while it recreates that sensation of ‘stepping outside’. It’s those first steps we take as we adapt to the new day. Waking limbs, if you will. The follow-up, ‘Touch Response’, puts a meandering guitar up front and center, as Tripswitch dives deeper, looking for that haptic connection. Kickdrums feel like heartbeats, as we become self-aware and conscious. Next up is ‘Last Waltz in Weirdsville’, featuring the don Nick Warren. As the name suggests, it’s a tripped-out affair, as the listener tries to make sense of echoing vocals, tangled with synths that feel like whales crying as they circle around the unorthodox time signature.
By the second quarter, the sun stars to gleam with ‘Penumbra’, a place where time stands still, as warm percussions carry the listener into the light. In time, a whole plethora of sounds unfurls right before our very eyes. ‘Nectar’, on the other hand, serves as a contemplative break. Beautiful in its own right, the piece is seeping with gorgeous and intricate textures, extending the amount of sensorial information provided in ‘Memento Mori’ above and beyond, as doors creek to let ‘The Box’ inside. Ominous and mysterious, it feels like the unknown. A real part of life itself, and a most entrancing transitional piece.
The halfway line, ‘Souvenir’, does feel in fact like a gift. A keepsake of sorts. Warm, and filled with the best intentions, it’s an imaginative creation where almost nothing sounds like it’s supposed to. A low-end horn-like bassline contrasts against crushed bit drums, as heaven-sent arpeggios intertwine, reaching for a break in the skies. ‘Kauri’ presents Tripswitch at his finest. It’s a throwback to that ‘Circuit Breaker’ sound that made him earn critically acclaimed reviews in high places like The New York Times. It’s a sonic tapestry unfathomable for most producers, where vocal chops make their way through intricate beats, unraveling new paths as they go. To close out the third act, Tripswitch relies on ‘Final Piece Of The Jigsaw’, another transitional piece, meant to further his sonic explorations, making ‘Memento Mori’ even richer in texture.
The final act commences with ‘Fifty Thousand Volts’, a heady and narcotic creation with its own gravitational pull. Razor-sharp and magnetic, it works in tandem with ‘Final Piece Of The Jigsaw’ as a breather, opening the field for what’s about to come in ‘Forever’, which is a mesmerizing piece of music. Here, particles of light float in slow motion pushed around by the echos. It’s one of those rare moments, where the world seems to stop just for you, and then you get to see it resume as if nothing had happened. As for the album closer, Tripswitch created ‘Maranasati’. This is a pulsating but tranquil piece as if it is meant to work as a resting place for all the life that transpires across the enchanting world that is ‘Memento Mori’.
In this age, electronic music albums provide a monumental feat, as it is easy to fall into formulaic traps or the appeal of the ‘four to the floor’ groove. Non the less, Tripswitch manages not only to capture the imagination of the listener but to stimulate it. ‘Memento Mori’ is just what its name suggests. A powerful and gripping journey through life itself, that reminds us of the inexorability behind the passage of time.
Buy and stream here.
2. Touch Response
3. Last Waltz In Weirdsville (feat. Nick Warren)
6. The Box
9. Final Piece Of The Jigsaw
10. Fifty Thousand Volts