FTSE: FTSE II
Midlands-based Sam Manville aka FTSE returns to concoct a second expertly eclectic EP II, full of original styles, always stimulating mind matter with emotional content, always creating an ambience on the brink of both late nights and early mornings, yet somehow always capable of nourishing neurons. It’s not often that British producers’ beats stride confidently aside the finer trans-Atlantic voices, but, on lead track ‘St Tropez‘, Atlanta’s ForteBowie, whose recent activity includes making the ‘Southside’ beat for Trinidad James, excels alongside our heroic orchestrator. Sweet and soulful layered melodies are accompanied by metronomic snares and a slowly escalating combination of low-end throb, metallic offbeats, and the occasional bent piano note. This perfectly compliments with rhymes addressing fantasy amidst reality, as the two distinctive featured vocal tones caress and cajole emotional sustenance from the idea of escaping the relentless grey that surrounds; “life’s hard and it ain’t gettin’ any better, grab your shit we goin’ St Tropez together, Cus when we glow we forget about it all”. Next we find a ‘Brave New Wurld’, one of two solo Sam Manville joints, where he refines his bass heavy vocal tones into a whisper of venomous social critique, and provides a contrasting falsetto of desperate personal solace. Always deathly slow & suspenseful, a ridiculous arsenal of clinical observational couplets clash with whipped beats, manic yet smacked-out sound effects, and descending jagged guitar notes that feel capable of killing on their own. ‘Lost In Translation’ is exceptional in every way also. A simple arpeggio fades up, like the solar energy of daybreak, and featured singer, Femme, emits an angelic coo like cotton wool before a penetrating break of snares cracks through the ether and an equally engaging baritone propels the post-club narrative in a manner reminiscent of the first time you heard The Streets. “Never again, until next weekend. I just gotta get some sleep and I’ll be fine” the key message that alternates, always hopefully, between remorse and revelation. Ep closer ‘Kode’ originated as a jam with friend, & fellow ex-hardcore purveyor, George Reid (AlunaGeorge) and sees the most aggressive beats of this collection flex their funk with sensual smoky vocals, and sexually explosive rhythm & blues. As you begin to know FTSE it’s unlikely to surprise in it’s ability to always stay just perfectly one step ahead of your head.