Label: Fifty Fathoms Deep

Thought processes-a-plenty as label founder of Fifty Fathoms Deep, Craig Smith journeys into the ambient abyss on his Is This The Always EP. Edinburgh-based Smith is the man who championed the wicked music anomaly Frederick and has Lay-FarThatmanmonkz, Rainer Truby, Phil Asher, NY*AK and label partner Peter Oakden.

The self-titled first track is an atmospheric quest moving through dark strobes and etheric synths with only the backdrop of a sampled commentary on philosophy exploring the meaning of time, life and the human mind. Next track So Much Trouble on My Mind is powerful, emotional, seeking and evocative. Perfectly timed minimalist beats draw your attention as the haunting yet subtle bass filters through to an outbreak of snares and melancholic bleeps. My favourite track, there’s just something about it.

Set Me Free is the ultimate dedication to intelligent electronic music. Setting the tone for what could have been an epic extended symphony are the raw violins samples which conjure up the best tracks of the last two decades, Massive Attack’s Unfinished Sympathy, Goldie’s Angel and BT’s Nocturnal Transmission. A composition that emulates beauty in the world of dance music is a rare thing and this does with faultless ease – it really gets to and with you.

On the remix for Is This The Always is Frederick, exuding his exegesis of this track. Sublimely darker streams of sound are invoked into the core emitting yet more experimentation into sound. All the samples are introverted, flipped and exposed, they are made to work harder not the producer – creating an embryonic dark twin. Total genius.

This is exciting stuff and I’m looking forward to what Craig Smith comes up next on this path he’s currently on. Definitely bringing something back to the electronic genre that has been clearly missing for the last decade or so. Proving the leftfield and ambient sounds never really left, they just dug up roots, moved to Edinburgh and shacked up with Craig Smith at Fifty Fathoms Deep.

Review by Sandra Swaybe-Barrett

On General Release June 6

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Music |  Is This The Always EP – Craig Smith