After coming up through Hip Hop, producing for the likes of Jehst, Verb T and M9 as well as releasing two UK classics in the form of his Half Past Calm mixtapes (check one of our favourite Half Past Calm tunes below for the backstory), Glasgow based Jon Phonics has recently been exploring a more electronic sound with textured, glitchy beats that blend and merge genres, defined only by their soulful nature. His most sultry, rnb inspired record to date, his latest release on Push and Run sees him team up with London based vocalist Tabanca, whos Trinidad roots inspire her powerful and yet tranquil vocals. A three track digital release that dropped on the 13th (joined by a 7″ and three remixes on January 20th), it’s an engaging and considered debut from the vocalist, while further showcasing Jon Phonics’ prowess and flexibility as he delivers an ideal sound scape of downbeat funk and laid back electronic soul.
A weighty bassline and layered clicks introduce the releases title track among spaced out atmospherics as Tabanca draws her first breath and lets her captivating vocals float into synths, the beat dropping underneath her into light melodies that contrast it’s multi-layered depth, heightened by the layered harmonies and pop esque synths of the hook. Standing out as the most original sound of the three, With Direction follows up with ringing hats and vocal snatches before launching into a coalescent fusion of lazers, bass wobbles and stabs that bubble on the surface of a surging bass line. Drifting over this, Tabanca rises wistfully through the chorus and delivers her finest display of songwriting in what for me is without a doubt the EP’s strongest track. Closing things up, Mind Games has a hard act to follow and yet doesn’t disappoint, it’s more industrial sound of heavily echoing snares permeated by a single siren providing a slightly darker soundscape, twisting Tabanca’s vocals and creating and element of sinister beauty, a distortion, blending and confusion of sound that well suits her darkest subject as she talks of mind games, undertones of paranoia creeping under the surface.
A strong, captivating sound, Jon Phonics’ beats provide an element of originality to Tabanca’s vocals for a thoughtful style that’s hard to resist. Weaving tales of love and lust, the definition of the West Indian word Tabanca (A painful feeling of unrequited love, typically for a former lover and causing unbalanced or violent behaviour) sums up the music’s melancholy and emotion, it’s blend of darkness and beauty seemingly referencing the conflicting emotions of unrequited love. Yet another incredible release in Phonic’s varied back catalogue and a great debut for Tabanca, this one will be keeping South Londoners up late around the BC HQ. Listen below, cop the digital release from Itunes for just £1.79 and grab the wax and remix package (featuring edits from Slugabed, Pedestrian and U) from Bleep.