Album review: Howie B - Down with the Dawn

Howie B - Down with the Dawn

Howie B - Down with the Dawn - Credit: Archant

Heralded as one of the lynchpins of the ‘90s trip-hop scene, Howie B has always treated genre as a fluid concept, but even by his standards Down with the Dawn is a diverse affair.

This eclectic record is the revered Soul 2 Soul producer’s first solo project in five years - his seventh in total - and, free from any outside influence, it sees him happy to flit between industrial, jazz and hip hop beats in what he describes as an ‘extended diary’.

At the very least, it’s certainly extended. Clocking in at 1 hour 9 mins, tracks are often content to stretch out in ten minute electronic jams, gradually building in hypnotic layers.

The wealth of knowledge from Howie B’s 25 year producing career is immediately apparent, with the Gary Numan strangeness of opener Frankie’s City indebted to its inventive and perfectly captured percussion.

Early highlight Run Always sets the tone with soaring, acid-tinged synth, while Kazoo, as you might expect, finds the Glaswegian at his most playful.

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Moody keyboard motifs are beautifully constructed throughout and, when you think you have Down with the Dawn figured out, cameos from strings and vocals make it a delight to discover.

Rating: 4 stars

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