Submotion Orchestra – Fragments
Fragments is the sophomore album from UK-based Submotion Orchestra, a seven-piece collective of musicians making progressive electronic music.
SubMotion Orchestra describe their own sound as drawing upon dubstep, soul, ambient electronica, jazz and dub. This description of their sound is likely to cause a dichotomous reaction of either intrigue or repulsion. Some of the tracks on Fragments really show how interesting fusions of genres work. Blind Spot, in particular, blends orchestral sounds with a dubstep bass to achieve a big and quite beautiful sound that’s backed up by a deep dub-like kick. The high points on the album reach vertiginous heights, achieving a dense, multilayered sound that manages to get the interplay of different genres and sounds working in fantastic harmony. The album also covers a lot of ground in terms of different sounds: Thousand Yard Stare is quite a tough haunting track with plenty of bass, while Coming Up For Air is blissful, airy and a great way to round out the album.
Fragments does fall down at some points with Thinking, in particular. It sounds like it would be more at home on the sound track of Gran Tourismo rather than on this album. There are points in other songs where the tracks get far too busy and stray into the realms of noise, which is often the case when working with so many musicians. Parts of the album sound really outdated: It’s Not Me It’s You is reminiscent of the worst excesses of garage after it went pop. The trumpet doesn’t always work well, and one gets the feeling it’s there for the sake of inclusion. That being said, some tracks such as Bird Of Prey are completely made by the use of trumpet, bringing a soulful element to the dubstep textures.
Fragments is an ambitious and interesting project. When the tracks work, they really work and bring something new to a genre desperately in need of invigoration. While Fragments cannot really be considered as a dubstep album, it is most likely to fall into being labelled as such. It will be interesting to see how the Submotion Orchestra develops as a project, as there are some brilliant flashes here. However, Fragments would have worked better trimmed down to EP length with just the strongest tracks.
Fragments is released on 24th September 2012. For further information or to order the album visit Submotion Orchestra’s website here.