Step Right Up: Maxmillion Dunbar
“I make a lot of tracks by sticking on a loop forever, letting it live and breathe as long as it needs to. I keep all of the pieces I’m working on balanced, floating in the air. If it doesn’t take minutes to stand up, it takes weeks.”
Words: Mark Carry, Design: Craig Carry
Andrew Field-Pickering aka Maxmillion Dunbar is one half of Beautiful Swimmers and behind the Future Times record label. With a background as MC and DJ’ing disco, Dunbar has always been immersed in music. Having first tried his hands at programming hip hop beats, Dunbar eventually introduced his rogue breed of house music to the dance world via 2010’s ‘Cool Water’. Three years later, a startling techno tour-de-force – in the form of ‘House Of Woo’ – was recently released on the innovative RVNG label. ‘House Of Woo’ is a captivating record, made for both dancefloor and headphone listening. The thirteen tracks possess an organic quality, rare to find in much of today’s electronic and techno scenes. What is immediately apparent on ‘House Of Woo’ is its versatility and effortless flow of electronic soundscapes. ‘House Of Woo’ represents a new age in house music and showcases Dunbar as one of the leading lights in this field.
The first single ‘Woo’ was my first introduction to Maxmillion Dunbar. The song is an absolute classic, possessing a monster groove, sublime beats, and a multitude of breathtaking layers of electronic mastery. In fact – on listening to ‘House of Woo’s opening three tracks – what’s immediately most apparent is the sheer range of sounds, tempos and styles on display: the irresistible ambience of album opener ‘Slave To The Vibe’; the instant-classic ‘Woo’ and the magnificent ‘Coins For The Canopy’ (which unfolds majestically from a sublime drumbeat). Elsewhere, synths and keys combine beautifully on ‘Inc Tags’, trumpets are delicately added to the intriguing soundscape of ‘Kangaroo’ – playing wonderfully off Field-Pickering’s glitches and vast library of synthetic sounds.
Similar to records in recent times by the likes of Peaking Lights and Modern Love’s Andy Stott, ‘House of Woo’ is sure to find a loving home in many a variety of music fan’s collections; providing for a wide cross-over appeal. Substance is always to the fore and is never superseded by style. The tracks are often densely layered and intricate ensuring the listening experience is always truly riveting. ‘House of Woo’ ensures Dunbar can be seen in the same light as fellow electronic wizards Kieran Hebdon and Dan Snaith, where laptop wizardry and slick electronic mastery are firmly backed by a breathtaking musical knowledge and a keen appreciation for the analogue as well as the synthetic.
‘House Of Woo’ is pristine throughout (as slick and as fresh as the wonderful two-color sleeve), showcasing an uncanny array of grooves and vibes, offset from a beating heart and a stirring soul throughout.
‘House Of Woo’ is a blissful ambient affair; an album brimming with wonderful ideas made by Field-Pickering’s hyper-creative, restless mind. What’s most apparent from first listen onwards is the perfection Field-Pickering bestows upon his work. A perfection which we as listeners will cherish and marvel at for many years to come.
‘House Of Woo’ by Maxmillion Dunbar is out now on RVNG INTL.