RÜFÜS – Atlas Review

RÜFÜS have kicked up quite a fuss in Australia when they released their debut album Atlas in their native Australia last August. The Sydney dance group consists of Jon George, Tyrone Lindqvist and James Hunt. They have achieved chart topping success down under with Atlas last year and naturally the aim is to transfer such success beyond Australia with the release of the album here in the U.K on April 28th. These days it is difficult to have music of a higher standard being successful in the charts at the same time which is always disappointing as the charts should be the driving factor of completion and innovation, so if RÜFÜS can achieve this then they deserve all the credit and appraisal they’ve been receiving.

Their single ‘Desert Night’ features the cool and steady bouncing dance beat as the bass foundation, while lighter and more shimmering synths cascade over it. The feathery and wistful vocals over the top of that are slightly drawn out to create a little bit of atmospheric quality which is also generated through the synths. The rise and fall of sounds from the more distant and considered to the more immediate and melodic enhance the feel of both. It is a song totally at ease with itself and is a simple yet effective piece of dance music which isn’t so isolating as most dance music ends up as. ‘Sundream’ opens with expanded bursts of elasticated and undulating synths that remain as the percussion samples and extra elements come in to generate the soft rhythm. From this there is a large culmination from the synths that results in a rich atmospheric peak before slipping back into the verse. The opposite is done to the same effect with a stripped back and spaced out instrumental that’s brought back earth via the fast rising, undulating synths that gracefully soak the rest of the track with such a rich and bold sound. The vocals are at a much higher volume as oppose to the instrumentals, yet they fade and spread back into the track via the relaxed and simple tones of Tyrone Lindqvist. As a result the vocal is still the focal point, but one that adds to the music and blends into the instrumental to make the soaked in atmosphere even richer. There can be little to no negatives to be raised about the production for it is quite simply sublime.

‘Tonight’ starts off with sharp electronic beats with a fluid and high pitched synth sound shooting above it. This track seems like quite a intimate and closed in track on the verses, especially with the easy listing vocals that are maintained theme throughout the album, but in the instrumental sections and the chorus, the samples and synths blast their way to freedom and ease into more expanded space and sound. The progression to get from the more enclosed and intimate sounds to the huge expanses of the soundscapes that follow is pretty damn impressive too. ‘Take Me’ begins with bouncing synths of various pitches and melodies that fade in to Tyrone’s echoed vocal. It reoccurs in such a minimal fashion, but one that maximises and fills the sound and space it has. The verses on the other hand feature and grinding and reverbing synth at a much lower tone. This just makes the verses seem even more brighter and bigger when they follow the darker and shadier verses. ‘Sarah’ is a smooth and fluctuating track with the dazed vocals the reverb and move around the space of the song to generate a distinct growth of sound, yet one that remains a little more darker and subdued as opposed to the bright, sun drenched feel of ‘Sundream’. ‘Unforgiven’ is a track that features the guest vocals of Jess Polard that act as a more wistful and lighter reflection and the more rooted vocal from Tyrone which is drawn out and expanded at a lower tone. As you’d expect the song is masterfully produced in terms of the huge rises and falls of the sound and the slick transitions from one section of the song to another. On top of this, the album as a whole is so expansive and growing that can be a record to become completely immersed in, yet one that has plenty of rhythm and bite to enjoy in a more immediate fashion. The soft edged and delicate vocals tie up the glistening and shimmering music for an album that should chip away at the stigma that heavily produced music and dance music can have of being monotonous, tuneless and unimaginative. This couldn’t be more untrue of Atlas. Who knows how well they’ll do in the charts, but they have an album of a very high standard.

RÜFÜS – Atlas = 8.5/10

File:RÜFÜS Atlas album cover.jpg

Images from http://en.wikipedia.org / www.umstrum.com


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