thu 07/07/2022

Album: Ron Trent presents WARM - What Do the Stars Say to You | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Ron Trent presents WARM - What Do the Stars Say to You

Album: Ron Trent presents WARM - What Do the Stars Say to You

The producer's first album in more than a decade is a smooth-as-silk success

Songcraft, flawless playing and pristine production from Ron Trent

In 1990, teenage prodigy Ron Trent released a single on Armando’s Warehouse imprint. Recorded on cheap equipment it was, nevertheless, a staggering piece of music. Urgent, insistent and unrelenting its piercing strings, metallic cymbals and  juddering, robotic bass created a spiralling sense of joy that has remained undiminished for more than 30 years.

While the low-level lighting and smooth-as-silk production on Trent’s latest outing, under his WARM moniker, has more in common with the lush and expansive deep house he pioneered alongside Chez Damier on the Prescription label, there is something that links all three. Something that’s threaded like a chain stitch throughout his career – soul.

What Do the Stars Say to You is Trent’s first album in more than a decade, and marks a big shift in scope. Embracing jazz funk and fusion feels, ambient excursions and downtempo electronica, Trent has created canvases with enough space for his impressive list of collaborators to leave their mark.

Among those contributors are Texan psychedelic world-trippers Khruangbin, French violin virtuoso Jean Luc Ponty, ambient adventurer Gigi Masin, and Ivan Conti and Alex Malheiros, better known as the rhythm section of Brazilian jazz-funk masters Azymuth. It’s company that Trent clearly feels at home in, so effortlessly does he appear to assimilate their playing into his grand vision.

That is in large part down to the strength of Trent’s songwriting. The reason Ponty’s strings are able to soar so convincingly on “Sphere” is that they’re buoyed by clever chords and pitch-perfect production. Strip “Melt into You” of Alex Malheiros’s beautiful bass run, and you’re still left with an achingly mellifluous melody and irresistible groove. Even Khruangbin, with their idiosyncratic, angular swagger, feel absolutely at home here.

Everything is embedded so beautifully into Trent’s signature sounds – wonderfully rich synths with wide open chords, basslines with burred edges that catch on the ear with tantalising traction. “Flowers” is a particular case in point. A sheet metal bass pulse begins, synthesizers join, and the direction of travel appears to be carefully crafted electronica. Then, seconds later, everything’s painted piano with jazz tints and you’re wondering how exactly you got here.

The answer is with songcraft, flawless playing and pristine production. And soul. Endless soul.

@jahshabby

Trent has created canvases with enough space for his impressive list of collaborators to leave their mark

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Average: 4 (1 vote)

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