Howie B ‘Down With The Dawn’

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Title: Down With The Dawn
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The word refinement immediately springs to mind when listening to this first-album-in-over-five-years-effort from a chap who lays claim to the kind of back catalogue that demands respect. We may not have the same smashing of boundaries that rightly ranks him amongst the founders of trip hop and sultry slo-mo, nor is there anything as breathtaking as that All Is Full Of Love remix, the finest of his Bjork collaborations. But, nevertheless, this is the work of an educated mind, a testament to what can happen when you apply all that has been learnt during a career that dates back to the mid-1980s.

To open with last year’s Frankies City single, and its brooding, low end heavy loose house step, is something of a curveball considering the full contents here. Notably heavier, or at least darker (it’s not heavy at all actually) than the majority featured on the track list, in contrast to that example overall the LP is more in line with Howie B the producer-composer-studio head as oppose to Howie B the DJ, which is probably unsurprising given the format.

And it represents that impressive, oft-lackadaisical past well. Can I Close My Eyes and Heaven Part 1 are equally sublime in their own unique ways, the former ushering in a future soundscape full of promise (but therefore also the unknown), the latter all warm suggestions of rhythm and melody; a broken, dream-like chill out tune. Of course there are clubbier aspects, such as the early-Matthew Herbert meets death techno-esque Master Inch Mile Haunch, and Ganzi‘s bizarre crescendos of slightly jarring computer noises, but on the whole this is humanistic as oppose to mechanical, and arguably a collection of work that will find the most favour amongst established fans.