The thing that astounds me most whenever I listen to Tryezz is the fact that he isn’t already king of the electro-chill-funk music world, if such a space exists. Masterfully combining Sonic-esque arcade beats over a foundation of the smoothest electronic melodies one can lay down, Jonathan Fowlkes delivers on every album, EP and song. Tryezz is an artist that transcends multiple genres of electronica, usually treading in a pool of funk-jazz or chill-dance, both of which are categories I may have just made up. While in this specific post I will be presenting his latest, Atmospheres: Art of the Scenic Groove, a vibrant summer album, my real intention is to deliver Tryezz as a whole, as an experience that even you non-electro fans are bound to get addicted to. And I say that statement with the confidence of someone who has conducted the Tryezz social experiment several times over. You want some easy after party music to calm down to after 50 people have trashed your house on Halloween? Go play the Don’t Trip EP. You want to sit around for two hours and practise playing Starcraft while shit-talking all other video games? Play Sonic’s Poppin Groove. Driving home after the worst day imaginable? Play Amezakura. I swear, every single time i’ve whipped out a Tryezz track in a social setting everyone in the room actually starts liking each other more. Shoulders move automatically in unison with the song and people genuinely smile and look like their in a Virgin mobile commercial. Bullshit you say? Listen to this, and just try not to feel good. I DARE you.
Atmospheres, Fowlkes 7th full length album packs a different sort of punch than the above track. Less mellow/chill and more in a realm of high strung dance/groove music, this album is pure summer and heat. There’s still that undercurrent of video game arcade noise that permeates all the tracks, but Atmospheres is far more aggressive, attempting to establish itself as an album thats more party-friendly with an evident desire to make a statement. Each track folds over into multiple layers and then some. ‘Clear Skies’, the introductory track wastes no time with petty formalities, instead the tone is immediately set to be eclectic, heavy and obvious. You can’t play these tracks over dinner, but you can roll down the windows of your beat up Chevy on a night in mid-May and spend the next 3 months feeling good. Its that sort of sound, a thick summer noise that plays heavily into the ‘funk’ ambiance Tryezz so often slips into. Its familiar, but this might also be his most Urban album. To some extent all Tryezz albums are meant for an urban landscape of post-2 am downtown cruising, but Atmospheres leaves no room to rest or step away from the Ibiza beach-house vibe that flows through the 11 tracks. The energy is infectious though, and almost immediately past the second or third track you’re entirely happy to take this in. Below is ‘Market and 4th’ one of my favourite tracks on the album.
There is a dissonance in Atmospheres, at times an overwhelming quality. To quote the person next to me while I was listening to this yesterday, “It feels a bit like I’m being attacked, but in a good way?”. Yeah, exactly. There’s nothing subtle about this album, which is newer ground for an artist who generally takes a bit more time unravelling each of his melodies. Nonetheless, Atmospheres still works, and I suspect fits into a more electro-pop bubble than any of Fowlkes’s albums. ‘Sights and Sounds’ and ‘Pacific Time’ are probably the most manic tracks and have a crazed rush-hour panic element to them but again works with the urban jungle vibe the album puts out. ‘High Rollin’ feels like i’m HIGH ROLLINGGGG. I’ll show myself out. Sorry. Seriously though, what a fantastic song. ‘Coastlines’ and ‘Magic View’ are noticeably more complex tracks with multiple melodies running through them, but not in a way so as to seem crowded, more like songs that evolve with each minute. Overall, Atmospheres presents a variety of arrangements but none of them move too far away from each other thematically. And thats sort of nice, I don’t think its meant to. I enjoy this funky booming video game noise, and as the album title projects, its meant for the scenic route – but an urban one, of summertime, city-lights and exaggerated skylines. Listen to it in this environment and take it in.
Before I wrap this up, I have to say please do give Tryezz a try (hah). He’s fantastically talented and music aside is an endlessly humble artist who see’s himself as a musician that is perpetually growing and learning. I’m not sure if ‘electronica’ is what i’d put Tryezz under, even though he essentially is making, uh, electronic music. There’s a richness to all his tracks, and this uncanny ‘heart on my sleeve’ sincerity which reminds me an awful lot of 80’s pop that i’ve never heard in this genre before. Here’s a link to a generous variety and amount of free tunes available on his site, and I’ll leave this last song with you to listen to while you mull over all these boxes i’m trying to fit this amazing artist into. I guess that’s really the thing then, Tryezz is an unreal blend of several genre’s and doesn’t really fit anywhere, but if you give him a try i’m sure you’ll be down to chill.