Following 2014’s Music For The Uninvited, a mini-LP which set out to evoke the nostalgia of his mother’s car journey cassettes, Leon Vynehall is back with another concept release. Rojus (Lithuathian for ‘paradise’) delivers a musical interpretation of Vynehall’s comparison between the mating rituals of Birds of Paradise and the behaviour of contemporary clubbers. It’s an amusing theme, but the music conjures a myriad of colourful images with absolute sincerity.
The arpeggiated opener, ‘Beyond This’, acts as a perfect prologue; the hazy, dreamlike ripple of the synths over the birdsong samples set the scene for the album’s diegetic. An early demonstration of Vynehall’s knack for atmosphere, it sees the producer collage sound like a physical work of art, moods mixing with more tangible sounds to immersive effect.
The rest of the album aims to track the energy curve of a night out, taking the listener through the fluid dancefloor phases. Boosted basslines and pumped up percussion help achieve this, and generally give the record a more club-ready feel than his last. Tracks such as ‘Beau Sovereign’ and ‘Kiburu’ boast heavy, complex drum patterns akin to early singles like ‘Brother‘, while ‘Paradisea’ carves its narrative through its rhythmical swing and mellow layering. It’s here that Vynehall really demonstrates novel territory, including the 2010 Foals-esque guitar reverb which adds additional emotional complexity and promotes it to mini-piece masterpiece status.
Another of our highlights, ‘Wahness’, is a moody blend of chords which bleed into one another like soft watercolour. Sharp hats fight above, like clashing swords, sultry vocals whisper and echo, beckoning the dancers on.
In contrast to Music For The Uninvited, which was holistically a more delicate record, Rojus holds nothing back. With a bolder production style, every track is targeted directly at the dancefloor and those occupying it. Like the birds and/or human beings Vynehall references, the record is literally designed to dance. Although one dimensional at times, every track is sequenced perfectly; a jubilant yet exhausting listening experience. It’s no surprise its release has thrust Vynehall into the limelight once more, as a producer he continues to do his talent justice over and over again.
Rojus: Designed to Dance is out now on Running Back.