Offshore - Bake Haus
With electronic music as bloated and samey as it is these days, artists are beginning to discover that they're going to have to appeal to a wider audience if they want to move beyond producing tracks in their bedrooms and gain more recognition than a few Soundcloud comments. Two artists who have done this recently just happen to be two of Aberdonian beatmaker Ewan Robertson's contemporaries. Emerging out of a promising Scottish electro scene, Robertson- a.k.a. Offshore - started making waves with bloggers around the same time as fellow peers Rustie and Hudson Mohawke. It is interesting to note that whilst Rustie is gaining admirers such as Thom Yorke, and Hudson Mohawke is busy appearing on Kanye West & Jay-Z albums and being glanced at by Chris Brown, Robertson is only just warming up to releasing Bake Haus, a "mini LP" and taster for his debut to be released next year.
It's certainly not for the blogger or journalist to decide what an artist should want or, indeed , how they go about it - but it does at least give an interesting indication of Robertson's ambitions as a beatmaker given the promise that he and his peers have displayed. And surely enough that same measured, slightly off-kilter approach that Robertson has shown up until now compared with his peers comes across on Bake Haus an eclectic aperitif of an LP that veers between dubstep, 8-bit and post-rock in the blink of an eye. And whilst flying through so many sub-genres might seem like like a shameless excuse to show off his musical tastes, the relatively short track lengths ensure that Bake Haus is never a chore to listen to, and maintains the feel of an LP that was put together far away from a big money production studio.
Robertson has described Bake Haus as "a bit more personal than my other stuff... I think it's less picking out tracks and more of a listen through." That sentiment certainly rings true upon first listen - tracks here overlap, trail off and bleed into each other with regularity, never more apparent than on the big beat thunk of 'Life's Too' and 'Venom'. There's plenty of snippets for fans of grime and hip hop beats, too - particularly on 'Back Wynd' and the crunching techno of 'Gutter'. But it's Robertson's diversity that makes Bake Haus worth checking out, as on the shimmeringly beautiful 'Long Now' and so too on the album's emotional flute-filled centrepiece, 'Downer'.
Whilst Robertson's output may not be as ostentatious as his peers, it comes at the price of material that is still slightly raw, and tracks which sound a bit too close to DIY recordings for comfort. That said, Bake Haus is a worthwhile taster of what's to come when Robertson gets around to releasing his full length debut next year - all in good time.