As Polymers, Bristol-based DJ and producer Robin White threads samples of field recordings and found sounds into his electronic productions. Following up on the restless and percussive ‘Phenomena’, released last year on Kraftopical, and ‘0-Ghost’, a six-minute slice of dreamy, club-focused thuds and claps shared on Area~Code’s new YouTube channel last week, ‘Fragments’ sees the producer self-releasing for the first time, with mastering by DJ and producer Bruce (Larry McCarthy).
Given White’s parallel practice as a visual artist and collagist, it’s not surprising that he should bring a sensibility for layering and juxtaposing tones and forms into his music. What’s more, visual aspects are closely tied in with the Polymers project: the elegant and unsettling cover image for ‘Fragments’, created by Cassie Ireland, casts a subtly eery shadow over the idea of the fragments in question.
True to its name, ‘Fragments’ opens with an odds-and-ends handful of sounds, its bloodbeat kick and skiffled hi-hats cut with a ghost of vocal. The track soon finds its stride with a viscous synth line looping around the pulse, holding up a tight, efficient shape and adding a twinge of acid that’s right in line with the 80s synth-pop feel. But there’s something more analogue at work, too. The vocal slivers evoke something of O’Flynn’s folkloric-feeling ‘Painted Wolf’; meanwhile, background scrapes like snapping chalk and a sound like scuffed paper against palms lend a tactile warmth.
Laid-back, not overcomplicated, ‘Fragments’ is a fluid dancefloor number with a chilled-out soul. But let yourself sink in a little deeper, and there are plenty of subtle textures to reward a keener listen.
Words: Fran Pope // Photo: El Hardwick
‘Fragments’ is out now. Purchase and stream the track, and check out the rest of Polymers’ work via Bandcamp.