We might have our jungle release of the year already. Sully closed 2020 on several stupendous notes, and 2021 starts with Tim Reaper encapsulating his decade of masterful craft into Hooversound Recording’s best release. Jungle’s range of emotions have always been vast – aggy, uplifting, downbeat, hyper, jazzy – the analogue gear it originated on giving a lot of its most timeless tracks a warm, nostalgic character that’s difficult to capture these days. Tim has done exactly that. He morphs tracks from Special Request’s ZERO FUCKS into a layered, complex suite of sweeping epics; 24 seamless minutes filled with sonic references and influence nods, whilst being a distinctly modern take on jungle.
There’s plenty of thick subs and busy amen chops, but it’s the captivating details that elevate them to another level. It’s the braggadocious vocal hook in ‘Straight Off the Block’ preluding its massive drop. It’s the alien, angelic bells introducing the EP on ‘Elysian Fields’. It’s the soulful, gorgeous piano taking centre stage in ‘Quiet Storm’. It’s the ‘true love’ echoing in the background, some vocals sounding like they were ripped off an acetate but others sounding like they were recorded on a Neumann microphone. Crisp synths contrast with dark drums.
There are think breaks and reeses, sure, but it’s the way they’re used. The aesthetics are old, but the form is new. The songs gradually build and often shift focus to the lush ambient soundscapes surrounding its dance foundations, gliding from drops into more thoughtful breakdown territory, with ease. The ambience is just as important as the melodies, and it’s that multi-layered, cinematic emphasis that gives the EP an enchanting atmosphere nothing else compares to. The energetic core is there, but the detailed and ambitious arrangements surrounding it gives each tune a far weightier emotional heft. Even the sequencing takes you on a journey from mysterious, to fun, to uplifting, to next hype - elevating you right before closing on a bang.
Tim makes you feel as much as he does move you. I can’t wait for more.
Hooversound Presents: Special Request & Tim Reaper is out now.