Hearing the sound of uplifting house on a winter’s day has a strong tendency to completely thaw you out and transport you directly to a dance floor beneath the sunshine in the summer time. And so upon listening to Paradise Architects, a four-track split EP on clipp.art’s label, there’s not a chance in the world that your winter woes won’t disappear. The EP is the very first release from Melbourne-based artists, String Theorem (Matt Stringfellow) and Test Pattern (Jackson Gray), and is a very impressive debut. If this is the initial taste that the boys have to deliver, then they’re worth keeping an ear and eye out for.
The collaborative project between Stringfellow and Gray came into fruition after a night that was nothing far out of the ordinary, but which fell on the first hot day of the summer, and kicked off with rooftop beers and a sunrise jam. Their inspiration came out of a joy for creating and collaborating, and experimenting with new sounds. The duo have since quickly developed a rich and classic house sound that still incorporates their own individual elements which shine through their own independent pieces that feature on the EP.
The EP opens with the blissful title track, Paradise Architects, which is carried by smooth chords and progressive piano loops, layered over the top with textured hats and percussion. The smooth, filtered brass and rolling baseline can be likened to the sounds of Laurence Guy’s Les Mur and Jesper Ryom’s Superliminal — a comparison that remains as a reminder of the incredibly effort from the duo.
From the subtle and soft layers of smoothness, the discerning listener is soon captured by a faster pace. Zaire moves to a focus on up-beat percussion, with celebratory crowd samples and an uplifting, hand-raising, soul-enriching and good-time rolling vibe that just makes you feel as though you’re having a really bloody wonderful time.
Driven by an infectious saxophone loop interspersed with ambient crowd celebrations, the production quickly delves into a slightly deeper vibe with the introduction of gentle jazz-tinged chords, with a bouncing bass.
Following the groovy beats of Zaire, we’re introduced to Ear Power. The deep and warming baseline is supported by uplifting disco strings, striking a perfect balance between chilled moods and uplifting dance beats. The EP raises to a climax with this track, which focuses on drifts of percussion. The head-bopping release features rhythmic bongos, multi-layered brass instruments over the top of a soft piano progression. It’s the kind of pressed beauty that a talent along the likes of Motor City Drum Ensemble would discover and compare to as gold when found digging for records.
The final piece on the EP, Night Poetry, features a rich saxophone lasting across beats, with a subtle bass melody that reeks smoothness while still moving and keeping you tapping along to the beat with the shick-shaking of percussion. Night Poetry is perfect for closing a night, or listening to in your shower — or anywhere really — it’s timeless, it’s tasteful and it’s a tune and a half. It summons the atmosphere of its title, bringing feelings of nostalgia with the intricate and delicate percussion that weaves seamlessly with a touch of funk within the baseline along with dreamy guitar chords.
The diversity — yet consistency— throughout the EP can be credited towards both String Theorem and Test Pattern’s taste for delicacy and high quality tracks. By releasing a split EP that comprises both individual and combined productions, both the boys have been able to broaden the musical range of the release as a whole, while allowing the listener to pick up on an array of different timbres and progressions. Each producer should be commended on their individual and collaborative efforts, and they should not hang up their shoes after this release — we’ll be counting down the days until they release such positively artistic productions again.