Submotion Orchestra’s new record is another strong suite of jazz-electronica, with soulful guest vocals from Andrew Ashong and Ruby Wood. Fittingly for the album’s name, Colour Theory is available in a beautiful white-vinyl-with-rainbow-splatter edition, exclusively for independent stores like us.
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Submotion Orchestra seem to have relocated to a smoky jazz club for Colour Theory, with plenty of impressive and soulful vocal contributions, slow burning late-night electro-orchestral textures and very smooth, chilled out tunes. It opens with the sumptuous and sultry r&b of "Red Dress", with a vocal courtesy of Ruby Wood; I place her style somewhere between Fatima and FKA Twigs. "More Than This" reminds me of Zero 7 (not Bryan Ferry!), while "Kimono" is a lively, sparkling house-tempo instrumental not unlike Gold Panda; "In Gold" finds the pace switching down again with a second outstanding vocal by Wood and bassy synths, skittering drums and the the XX-type atmospherics. The beautifully poised "Amira" had my head nodding before one of the album's real highlights, "Needs" with the excellent Andrew Ashong on vocals. He did the "Flowers" song with Theo Parrish (4 years ago? Remember?) It's a lovely song with acoustic instrumentation alongside electronic pulses and orchestral chord progressions.
Wood is back for "Empty Love" with additional voice from Ed Thomas, who has worked with Chase & Status; a somewhat more relaxing effect here, of course. Another late-night ballad. There's frankly no getting around the post-Burial sound pushing through instrumental "Jaffa"; "Illusions" follows with Ruby's soulful vocal and the closing track is another highlight, "Ao" is a shimmering, slow-mo house groove featuring the up and coming talents of Catching Flies. I was always told to close my mouth to avoid this. A pleasant closer.
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- Colour Theory by Submotion Orchestra
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