Unearthed: Joker- The Vision
Posted in Unearthed
Clear Eyes, Full Heart
Joker's thing has always been quality over quantity. With only three real EP's to his name, the amount of hype the 22-year-old has been able to build up with such little material is quite an impressive feat. But is it warranted? On his first ever full-length LP, The Vision, the Bristol producer gives us the answer, and then some.
First off, we must get a few things straightened out. This is not a dubstep album; this is not a grime album; this is not an “insert weird UK sub-genre here” album. To place what Joker has created on The Vision into a set-in-stone category would be wrong and really, you’d just be missing the point. For one second, allow yourself to forget the hype, forget what you think you know about music AND JUST LISTEN. What you'll find in the end is 50 minutes of pure and progressive instrumentalism, music that needs no labeling. On The Vision, each song takes the listener in a completely different direction. Some tracks cook up that signature purple sludge Joker's most namely known for ("Tron", "My Trance Girl"), while others evoke a more emotional, ambient side of the producer ("Milky Way", "On My Mind"). There are even a few songs that with a little less grime, could easily be on the Top 40 for hip-hop ("Back In The Days", "Lost"). For his very first full-length, it seemed Joker felt necessary to cover all his bases. This is a concept that can end up working against artists, as it can limit creativity and take away from the cohesiveness of an album. But here, the variety actually benefits. For us, it keeps things interesting; seeing where Joker will go with that bubbling purple synth next is just plain fun. Even the LP's weakest tracks have allure to them.
For a producer who holds onto a very distinct style and sound, staying relevant is tough once the newness factor of your sound wears off. When it comes to electronic music, especially dubstep, producers are given a short life span. One that tends to run out when your fans find someone who is doing what you are doing but is willing to go just a little bit harder, faster, crazier. When this happens, it usually means two things for producers. Either make music that has a more popular appeal, sacrificing the individuality that made you you in the first place, or phase out of the spotlight and accept a more underground role. Now, in our eyes, not one option outweighs the other, and that’s really not the point we’re trying to get at here. Our point is, for someone like Joker, who can have his hand in each pot—the popularity and the underground respect/attachment—it deserves a little credit.
Joker’s The Vision drops October 31st in the UK, November 4th in the US. Stream some of our favorite cuts from the album below and listen to the entire thing now over at THE FADER.