Whiney Makes His Mark On The Scene With His Epic Album Talisman
Posted by Dan on 23rd October 2017
Since signing to Med School a couple of years back, Whiney has been a surprisingly quiet label resident, with the odd couple of tunes popping up on compilation albums, but not a whole lot more. However, things have been picking up speed of late, with the release of last year’s awesome Stranger Tides EP and big tunes such as Komodo and his remix of London Elektricity’s Tenderless smashing dancefloors all over the place. And now, we finally have a full album to feast our ears on, and I can confirm it’s bloody brilliant!
For anyone who was wondering what the general sound of this album would be, the title track pretty much sums it up for you. The potential energy of Talisman‘s sinister intro builds an intriguing anything-can-happen aura, echoing our own curiosity at what this record might bring, before we are knocked sideways by furious electronics fused with industrial-esque percussion and a monstrous bassline. Quick warning – there is a whole lot more where this came from!
Next up we have Beyond Reach, a strong contender for my absolute favourite tune of the year. In earlier posts I have mentioned my love-hate relationships with the Think and Amen breaks, both of which appear frequently in this track… and THIS is how I love to see them used! Alongside the focal drums, the unique pattern of which is a delight, the sampled breaks are intelligently chopped and arranged (the second drop in particular is just exhilarating!!), and combined with magnificent atmospherics, hypnotic computerised vocals and a thundering, practically mechanical-sounding bass, this makes for one hell of an experience. If there’s one song you listen to off this album, it’s this one. Seriously, I can’t big this up enough!!
Now, people have been going mad over Portal for some time, with DJs and fans alike proclaiming their love for it, but having skimmed over it a few times myself, I was fairly sure it wasn’t deserving of the sky-high praise it was receiving. But when I heard Whiney himself play it at Hospitality in the Park the other day, it hit me like… well, like Portal! I’ve never heard a tune quite like it; the irregularity in its composition is to me the source of its charm, along with the incredible synth work, and general gully-ness! A definite highlight, this should go off pretty much anywhere!
Further along we have the renowned corker, Flashlight; if you haven’t heard this by now, then you really have been living under a rock. Probably one of the most popular Drum & Bass tunes this year, it really is brilliantly simple, but hits so damn hard! In-demand MC and positive-vibe-spreader (just follow his Instagram page!) Inja completely nails it on this track as well, and I doubt it would be as well loved as it is without him. It’s still a crime that this never got a vinyl release!!
When it comes to collaborative projects, this album is a rare exception; it is Whiney’s solo tunes that I actually find far more interesting than those composed with fellow producers. For example, while Sun Kissed is another wonderful tune, Urbandawn takes such an obvious lead role in its production, and I would’ve liked to hear a bit more Whiney-ness in there (if that makes any sense). Similarly, Last Contact is a pretty cool half-time track, but the distinct ‘Diffrent’ sound of Lakeway is so thick here that I struggle to find much of Whiney’s own sound in amongst it all — something I would much rather hear given how fantastically menacing the earlier half-time track Minds Collide is! There are other songs on the album that do manage to bring out the best in all artists involved — take, for example, the beautiful Never Too Long, in which Whiney’s gritty edge (and vocals surprisingly!) is well complimented by Keeno’s signature orchestral sound — but at the end of the day, it’s when Whiney goes it alone that the most impressive heights of the album are reached.
All things considered, this is a fantastic collection of work from Whiney, and well worth the wait. If there’s something I look for in a Drum & Bass artist, let alone a Drum & Bass album, it’s the ability to stand out from the crowd, to be original, a very important attribute in a genre where originality is getting more and more difficult to come by. From what we’ve heard so far, Whiney definitely succeeds on that front, creating a body of work that in my opinion stands as one of the best albums of the year. Congrats dude!