Neil Davidge is a Bristolian producer, songwriter, composer, and occasional vocalist. He is best known for his production and writing work for British group Massive Attack, as well as his soundtracking for films such as 2010’s Clash Of The Titans and the videogame Halo 4. Slo Light is his first solo release, doing some much-needed hole filling in his discography.
In a genre often (and sometimes rightfully) accused of being simple, unoriginal, and emotionless, Slo Light is an album that turns the beat-and-synth creative format on its head. Equal parts Nine Inch Nails-esque ambient rhythmics, string orchestration, and melodies that range from Disney princess twinkles to Ibizan thumpers, it is built around a sort of eclecticism that can only come from spending years crafting music in a variety of formats.
The record opens with its title track, which features ambient metallophone clinking that makes it dreamy as well as harrowing. It is immediately followed by “Gallant Foxes,” a song with a much more driving beat; it shares striking similarities with any one of NIN’s dancier bits. “They Won’t Know” and “Zero One Zero” are intense bookends to the record’s soft midsection.
Every track, not including “Discovering The Universe,” a nine-minute alternate version of “That Fever,” features tight, well-arranged vocals by numerous guest singers; rather than being lyrics, they seem to blend in and become just another layer of instrumentation.
What makes Slo Light work so well is that while it branches out across all electronic genres, there are no conflicts in its composition. Each of the album’s 12 songs has its own focus, and whatever stylistic overlap that occurs works for the song. Shattering plenty of stereotypes, Davidge’s first solo act is one artful and varied enough to easily claim a spot among the works of the biggest names in electronic music, like Daft Punk and Deadmau5.
In A Word: Rich