Beatrice Dillon – Workaround Review

Out this month via PAN records, Workaround is the long-awaited debut LP from London producer Beatrice Dillon. It’s probably one of those albums that deserve a plain sight place on the shelf of those to remember.

Just listen to it to feel its airy lightness, driven by a hidden complexity, both in sounds and rhythm. And if that wasn’t enough, it deserves a thorough listen for its originality. Proceeding in fact at a constant rate of 150 bpm – a mysterious territory halfway between techno and d’n’b – it is a strange hybrid creature. It has something that reminds of dub, techno, UK bass, rave, dancehall, micro-house or even free jazz, but at the same time it rejects any classification. It has something that looks forward, but with a surprising encyclopedic awareness, a particular sensibility and care that she refined also thanks to her job behind the counter at the iconic London record shop, Sounds Of The Universe.

Composed during free moments in the past three years, Workaround reflects many features of Dillon’s music as we’ve known it from years of tapes, EPs, collaborations and DJ mixes; from its hypnotic hold on the dancefloor to its tendency to editing and manipulation, a particular way to clean sounds and make them crystalline. Despite this, the freshness of this album lies in the way she does it. Starting from sampled and recorded material – especially beautiful improvisations, drum machines or fibrous synths – Dillon’s heavy editing work passes through the elimination of superfluous, unusual grooves, unexpected joints. She banishes any reverb and throws each note precisely into space, hitting the listener’s heart and body.

Last but not least, a thing that will definitely convince you to listen: the huge array of musicians that offered original sound material to Dillon’s computers, from Laurel Halo’s vocals and synths to Kulijit Bhamra’s tabla, from Jonny Lam’s pedal to Lucy Railton’s cellos and many others, including English producer Batu. It’s a long and impressive list witch features artist from so many different extractions, a beautiful added value that brings colour and soul to an undoubtedly interesting album.

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