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BOTW Review: Close – Getting Closer

Will Saul is perhaps most famous for setting up Aus Music and Simple Records, producing some ravishing remixes – such as his brilliant recent re-imagining of Little Dragon‘s ‘Crystalfilm‘ – and manning the decks everywhere from London to Australia. But now under his new alias, Close, he’s gathered all his experience and knowledge together for an album that feels like it fits 2013’s competitive electro scene, and is high up in the contenders. Getting Closer – Saul’s first full length solo effort since 2005 – certainly feels as though it has dark foundations, which are constantly spiraling into a well of intriguing patterns and cosmic synths ready to take a leap into your ears.

Saul has also brought many friends along for the ride on Getting Closer; something of a trend right now among musical big-hitters including Disclosure, Jessie Ware and, er, Calvin Harris. On this album we get Charlene Soraia – most known for her quaint cover of The Calling’s ‘Wherever You Will Go’ as used on the even quainter Twining’s Tea ad – Joe Dukie of Fat Freddy’s Drop, Fink, Tikiman, October, Appleblim and Scuba. They all add their own sweet flavours to Saul’s infectious dark electro-pop sundae.

There’s a couple of stand out tracks that really elevate Getting Closer. The Tanner Ross and Slow Hands remix of ‘My Way’ feat. Joe Dukie is a highlight with a minimalistic knocking loop and a vocal reminiscent of a Jamie Woon and James Blake blend ready to send a shiver down your unsuspecting spine. This same feeling reappears in ‘Wallflower’, as Fink’s glassy voice echoes overtime. ‘Cubizm’ and ‘Time Fades’, meanwhile, make big statements in their chosen beats, which are full of house-infused dance floor energy. In fact, you know what? There are too many appealing tracks to pigeonhole into the ‘highlights’ category.

The arrival of Soraia’s vocal gives opener ‘I Died 1000 Times’ – also featuring October – a sophisticated glaze as she hums, “We’ll never know that you’ll never speak again”. A similar situation is seen with her in ‘Beam Me Up’ – a track co-produced by Scuba. Atop stalking synths, clacking beats and catchy hooks, she coos “Life’s a nightmare not a dream, so beam me up”; it’s a banger alright. However, ‘Born In A Rolling Barrel’ – which includes guest turns from Tikiman, Appleblim and October – fails to take off in a way the other fiery tracks do. The cosmic keys that swim through ‘Oscar’ create a futuristic retrospective, while the reoccurring R&B-style ‘my my mys’ on ‘Inside’, along with the scuttling drums, end the album in trippy fashion.

Saul’s forgiven for making us wait eight years for another full-length offering, Getting Closer is an enlightening, tight-knit record that entertains and seduces your ears from its very first electro-snap.

- Hayley Fox

Getting Closer is available from June 10 on !K7. You can order it here.

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