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Gerry Read – Roomland review

If there’s one thing to be celebrated about the democratisation of music making and (to some extent) the music industry, it’s the wealth of young, unbridled talent that has come to light that, in times gone by, might otherwise have been lost in a fog of inaccessibility. James Blake is an obvious example – you can even stretch it back to the likes of Dizzee Rascal. These artists could have easily fallen by the wayside when the major label suits called the shots and the only way to get heard was to get on the radio playlists. Gerry Read is another prime example of a bright young thing with a maverick way about him, surging onto the radar at the tender age of 19.

I make the analogy to James Blake because, in the juddering, nervous wreckage of Gerry Read’s tunes, you can hear the crackling tinder of ideas yet to be ignited, a sound yet to be matured. When Blake’s debut 12” Air & Lack Thereof first dropped, everyone who was tapped into that particular splinter of bass music started foaming at the mouth, but similarly recognised he needed some time to explore his boundaries and work his sonic identity out.

“Roomland” is a brilliant track, as the woody percussion interlocks and rotates with a techno focus while muted melodies load the surrounding space with a half-dreamed nostalgia. The rhythmic roll may be for the floor, but the overall finish is something far more evocative. Youandewan boldly steps up to deliver the remix and does so to great effect, crafting a streamlined and steady groover with pastoral tones, subby bass notes and a perfectly drawn out breakdown. It’s certainly not as wild as the original, but weaves its own charm all the same.

Between Roomland and the other EPs Gerry Read has released thus far, a very interesting character is being formed. It’s promising to see his disregard for conventions, although as is often the case, the renegade approach may need a little experience to round off the rough edges. As long as he doesn’t refine them too much over the years to come, we should be in for quite a ride.

Oli Warwick