Late Night Alumni - Empty Streets
Wed 28th Sep, 2005 Music Reviews 2524 viewsin
Late Night Alumni is a newly formed collective consisting of producers Ryan Raddon and Finn Bjarnson (aka Kaskade), vocalist Becky Williams, and instrumentalist John Hancock. There is no doubting Raddon’s place as one of the foremost house producers of our time. And tracks like the summery The Rest of You are absolutely dripping in the Kaskade signatures of syncopated beats and lush instrumentation. But rather surprisingly for this reviewer, the most remarkable moments on this album are the more downtempo tracks.
Title track and first single Empty Streets is far from the best thing here, but it’s a perfectly lovely tune and I only hope it encourages those that hear it to delve further. Rainy Days is the first sign that this is very much more than a house record. Williams’ bittersweet lyrics are wrapped in fine layers of orchestration, whilst a glitchy beat drifts in and out intermittently. Becky Williams’ vocals – angelic, captivating and at times melancholy and unsettling, – immediately put this far beyond the realm of Hed Kandi fluff. Williams eerily channels Portishead’s Beth Gibbons on Sunrise Comes Too Soon, a track which will start appearing on “chillout” compilations before you can blink. But don’t let that scare you, it’s a stunning track. In a more uplifting vein, Eros is certaintly not earth shattering or particularly innovative, but as with much of this album, you can’t help but be taken by such beautiful, immaculately crafted music.
This is the kind of album that would translate amazingly to live performance. The combination of Raddon and Bjarnson’s delicate production, Becky Williams’ vocals and the warmth of John Hancock’s string arrangements, is something truly special. Highly recommended.