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GMJ – Forgotten Wisdom EP (Particles)

Australian producer GMJ first came to my attention with a couple of utterly beautiful tracks on the Stripped family of labels, and his excellent Remembrance’ EP earlier this year on Particles. ‘Forgotten Wisdom’ is a five track EP for the label showcasing his trademark 20, 000 leagues deep progressive sound, as well as seeing him wade into more ambient waters.

The title track is low-key and hypnotic, with spades of atmospheric pads, glassy ripples, and a really nice trancey lead drifting across a relentless, low-slung bassline. As GMJ’s statement of intent for the rest of the release, it works just perfectly.

‘Fathoms’ combines ambient sensibilities with hip hop beats for a really lovely afterhours tune. Gorgeous vocals and delicate chimes are offset against powerful bass tones, yielding a musical moment that’s introspective and peaceful but never boring.

‘Silent Love’ arrives in a haze of swirling synths and hi-hats, but a kickdrum, snares, and a pulsing offbeat bassline soon jolt the track to its feet. A second, rumbling bassline soon adds a bit more of an edge to proceedings, before beginning to interact with a simple hook. For my money, this is the weakest track on the LP – I didn’t dislike it at all, but the ideas weren’t GMJ’s strongest, and as a result it didn’t manage to dig its talons into me in the way that many of the other tracks did.

Next up, ‘Light Streams’ takes us into some seriously dubby territory, but it offsets the huge, rolling bassline and wicked echoes with sci-fi theme pads, strings, and vocal samples, delivering a chill out hit that’s deeply spacious and lovely. However, GMJ has a surprise up his sleeves here, as a chiming hook signals a move back to a proggier sound, and the percussion dutifully picks up the pace as the bassline starts to churn. My only complaint here is that the track’s a little DJ unfriendly – it’s natural to want to use it as an opener, given the fantastic build, but it’s hard to see where to mix it before the beat gives way to the gorgeous strings once more. Well, time to get creative I guess, and the track is well worth expending the creativity on.

The title track appears a second time, with the ‘AM mix’ providing the final track. The name might lead you to expect a downtempo version, but if anything, this is a bit more edgy than the original version, with a moody intro quickly yielding to driving percussion and cool bass stabs. The musical ideas aren’t as well defined as in the original version, with the layers of melody floating and meandering rather than coming together to yield a strong central theme, and the result is that the track is very pleasant, but for me it lacked the emotion hit supplied by the earlier version.

This is a really nice EP from Particles, which does an excellent job of showcasing GMJ’s distinctive and often rather beautiful sound. 8/10


What do you think?

Jobe – Principia/Koma (Stripped Recordings)

Andre Sobota – Signals (Proton)