The Last Mixed Tape reviews Chroma, the long-awaited and brand new studio album from R.S.A.G.
The anatomy of Chroma is a sonic collage of vivid Basquiat-Esque deconstructivism. Restless creativity runs through R.S.A.G comeback record that reappropriates a myriad of sounds, influences and rhythms into one fluid experience where forward motion is king, resulting in one large musical canvas of differing colours and textures.
‘Morning Sun’ opens with radiant shimmering synths and melted beats, making for a soft-spoken introduction to Chroma. This calm beginning is subversive both from what expect from R.S.A.G as an artist, who usually conveys a more primal urgency to his work, but also in the context of the album itself. As this sonic introspection is sharply cut-off by the buzzing bassline, scratching strings and shuddered vocal of ‘The Spark’. In the space of two tracks, we are given a glimpse at the chaotic nature of Chroma where sounds are merged via strong contrast.
Movement continues to emerge as the primary sonic core of Chroma, dynamic start-stops, undulating undercurrents and call & response rhythms create a feeling of blurred backgrounds as R.S.A.G pushes the record forward as if sampling himself as well as his influences with pops and clicks of stand-out stylised sounds. Songs like the brass inflected ‘Leave A Light On’, the off-kilter soundscape of ‘Don’t Move So Fast’ and crushed twinkle of the closing ballad ‘Weather The Storm’ all add a mulitude of differing colour to the album as a whole. Resulting in abstract layers that led to the neo-exrepssionistic spectrum of the music .
But it’s in the frenzied beat of ‘The Jungle’ were the Chroma finds its chaotic centre. The rolling rhythm dominates the foreground of the track, as sounds appear and disappear under the tidal force of the music. Vocals fly-by, synth lines rise and fall, and bass lines pop out as the energy of the music takes on a creative fugue where everything simply melts into everything else. Working as the core of Chroma, ‘The Jungle’ pulls the overall productio of the album into clear focus whilst also maintaining the sense of urgency and chaos.
And so it goes, R.S.A.G’s Chroma is cast across a large sprawling canvas. In the ten years since Be It Right Or Wrong, he has worked to deconstruct and reassemble his music into something vibrant with fewer sharp corners and more fluidity. It’s a record wherein the intensity of creativity flows into every corner of the music. There’s a frenzy, a euphoria to make sound and that’s where the essence of Chroma lays, in the freedom of expression without boundaries.
Chroma by R.S.A.G is due out on May 29th. Photo by: Ruth Medjber.