Within the world of electronic music, Will Saul is perhaps best known for Aus Music and Simple Records, the labels he set up and has A&Red for over a decade. Between them there have been over 100 vinyl releases from the influential likes of Joy Orbison, Carl Craig, Pearson Sound, Scuba and Actress, as well as EPs that helped to break upcoming talents like Bicep, Dusky, Midland and George FitzGerald. As well as releasing a constant stream of on-point remixes and 12"s throughout his career, Will is also an experienced DJ who honed his trade as resident for 3 years at London's legendary The End before it closed in 2009. Since then, he has continued to play across the globe at influential night spots like fabric in London, Club Eleven in Tokyo, Chinese Laundry in Australia and Berlin's famed Berghain.
Getting Closer will be Will's first full-length album since Space Between, released under his given name back in 2005. He has slowly and anonymously leaked CLOSE material into the public sphere over the last 12 months; including remixes of Fink, Little Dragon and Hotflush boss Scuba. The alias was initially conceived in order to release music that would be judged on merit alone, rather than on the name to which it was attached, but following great reactions was increasingly difficult to keep secret. Proceeded mid April by first single 'Beam Me Up' Feat. Charlene Soraia and Scuba (with remixes by George FitzGerald, Hercules and Love Affair and Scuba) the album marks a big evolution in Saul's sound, leaning away from bass and house and more toward a world of dark yet idyllic pop.
"The tracks are steeped in the dance music I love, but have been written with an attention to detail and melody that hopefully captivates the listener beyond the dancefloor. I wrote the album with the ideal that it would be listened to as a whole piece from start to end. As a result I wanted to touch on all the different tempos and styles I love to give it a real range of mood, yet underpin it all with a feeling of 'future soul'. I've always been captivated and inspired by the music of Detroit - the machine driven funk of motor city techno combined with the introspective, melancholic soul of Motown is, for me, a combination that continually proves irresistible. Hopefully some of this long-term love-affair seeps into the album."
The album's title Getting Closer refers quite literally to its creation process, which was distilled through a number of collaborative layers. "I was getting closer to the people involved in the album whilst getting closer to the sound of the album I had in my head" says Will. "Writing music with someone can be a very intimate and rewarding process, or it can be really hard work and emotionally draining, or none of the above - either way you learn about yourself and the other person involved".
The recording started in Brighton with Fink - one of Will's oldest friends. The pair recorded a number of live takes of Fink's band (drummer and bass player) which formed the early sketches that were sent to the featured vocalists - Joe Dukie of Fat Freddies Drop, Tikiman, Charlene Soraia and Fink himself. The songs that came back were then developed further in a heavily electronic setting - a windowless world of analogue toys and geekery - in the studio of Will's long term production partner, Tam Cooper. Some of the vocalists came into the studio to record final versions, some sent the music from far flung locations. At this stage there was a finished album of sorts but Will wanted to push the tracks further from his comfort zone and reached out to friends Scuba, October, Appleblim, Ewan Pearson and Tanner Ross and the collaboration continued.. Working in this way means each artist has added their own identity to a project tightly helmed by Will, it has been a mutual dialogue where artists have grown ever closer. The unique resulting concept is a dynamic body of work that is set to come even more to life in the live arena.
The album was certainly conceived with live performance in mind, and as such Bristol producer Al Tourettes has been brought in to play live drums, and a team at Silent Studios has designed an accompanying AV show which will extrapolate the music's intimacy, warmth and detail into brand new, extra-sensory stimulating territory in a way that few yet have in the electronic realm. Even more than just a collaborative work, then, Getting Closer is an album that draws together many artistic disciplines into one new and exciting concept that hopes to lead the way in avant-guard electronic music and live performance.
01 Wallflower Feat. Fink
02 Future Love
03 Beam Me Up Feat. Charlene Soraia & Scuba
05 I Died 1000 Times Feat. Charlene Soraia & October
07 My Way Feat. Joe Dukie (Tanner Ross & Slow Hands Remix)
09 Born In A Rolling Barrel Feat. Tikiman, October & Appleblim
10 Time Fades
Listen to 'Beam Me Up' here: