All words: Lu Makoboka
Whether you’re on the dance floor or just lounging around in your living room, without a glitch ‘Glimpses of You’ by Dwson is able to harmonize gracefully with whatever kind of mood you’re in. To simply tag this offering as a ‘House’ project is actually a slight insult. The type of vocalists, sound design and ether introduced to us here is another exhibition to why this man is not your standard house producer.
The first time I came across Dwson (aka Ashwin Julies) was during his Rocking the Daisies set and funnily enough, I was just about to leave when he arrived on stage until a friend said: “you’d probably want to stay for this”. And so I did. After the fest, his debut album titled ‘Impulsiv’ wasn’t just a mere visitor but gradually became a tenant in my list of frequent jams. In many ways ‘Glimpes of You’ feels like an extension of “Impulsiv” by virtue of the similar use of synths and the percussion found throughout both projects. Although what makes ‘Glimpes of You’ so distinctive is the river-like cohesion during the course of 23 minutes, to the point where the whole EP sounds like one song. The caveat about Dwson’s kind of cohesion is the factor of predictability. Three out of the four tracks start off with a 4/4 thud layered with a cold and machinelike shaker loop. When an audience can predict an artist’s next move curiosity diminishes like tourists in the winter time, and therefore the intricacies of the music and moments of eargasm can typically be found somewhere after the first minute, but barely before.
Dwson welcomes us into his sonic realm with the opener “If Only You Knew”, the only track in the EP without a vocalist and wow… The expedition he manages to curate serves as a wonderful starter particularly in the department of sound design (yes I said it again!). With a closer listen you’ll pick up and an arpeggiator drenched in reverb subtly playing in the background of the stereo field. After a couple of seconds, that same arp makes itself prominent in the foreground thus delivering more of an impactful drop. The constant shifting between foreground and background also facilitates the arrival of this sharp and iridescent sawtooth pad without the mix becoming cluttered like Grade 12s at Ultra. That sounded a bit nerdy although the wit that went into the production of “If Only You Knew” needed to be highlighted.
There is something about female vocalists and Dwson’s ‘instrumentals’ that gel so well together. “Glimpses of You” has guest features from Dumama, Sio and Hyroine’s lead vocalist Roxy Caroline. The inclusion of these vocalists certainly aids in the articulation of the recurring theme which seems to revolve around matters of the heart. The lead single off the EP is the laidback ‘Nobody Else’ featuring frequent collaborator Sio. This track goes to show why a fire extinguisher needs to be present when these two are creating music together. Sio makes it sound so effortless to sound so great plus she breathes so much soul into ‘Nobody Else’. Right after, we’re led into the track with Roxy Caroline titled ‘Glimpes of You’ and her guest appearance bring an entirely different vibe to the project. Her vocals are haunting, lofty and the manner in which she hums creates a sense of eeriness to an instrumental which is somewhat groovy. This paradox between the perceived energy of the instrumental and perceived energy of the vocalist is great as the track has its own life. Its distinct energy simply cannot be replicated.
This is definitely the kind of EP where it’d be difficult to pick a favourite. All the tracks sound the same but have their own unique personalities to them. The diamond of the project is most definitely ‘Memela’ featuring Dumama, and honestly, this is because of such a commanding vocal presence. Dumama has the kind of voice you can’t ignore no matter where you are and Dwson plays on this notion through providing a rudimentary sonic canvas for her to express her story. You’ll notice that out of the 4 tracks ‘Mamela’ (meaning: listen) has the least activity instrumentally, allowing Dumama to take centre stage. What’s also interesting is the fact that she deviates from the theme to create what sounds like a struggle song imbued in psychedelic house rhythms.
Regardless of the genre, Dwson’s ‘Glimpes of You’ is easy on the ears and is a piece of work that everybody can appreciate. You’re welcome to find the EP on all digital streaming services.