Robert James unlike many flourished during the lockdown period and while some struggled with their creativity Robert saw this period in a different light. Channelling all the influences gained throughout his 16 years as an artist Rob presents his debut album ‘Battle Of The Planets’. Coming via his own Body Movement imprint which has seen many highlights in its previous six releases now levels up with the first long player and who else should present such an impressive body of work.
To kick off our review of the album we take aim at D3 banger and album lead track ‘Battle OF The Planets’. This breakbeat of seismic proportions leads out with a rather sinister bassline and arpeggiated synth line. The pin point drums snap in time with the catchy vocal snips and the lush pads that roll underneath. Sublime vocal phrases prelude to some ridiculously designed bass tones and perhaps produces the finest moments of the album. This is of course a big ‘perhaps’ as pretty much the whole album is spot on. From album opener ‘A Journey To Planet Acid’ and its rasping synth lines to tried and tested weapon ‘Revenge Of The Wasp’ the cool swagger of the front end of the LP is obvious and is a lesson in measured power.
With side B tracks sticking with the breakbeat and electro route ‘Infinity’ treads a decidedly 90’s direction to great effect while ‘Questions From The Future’ is stamped with a more warehouse vibe. Rounding out side B is the more nu school breakbeat soul of ‘Middle Peace’ and the contrast of lush vocals and insane basslines is a very nice touch. It is not until we arrive at C1 ‘Planet 90’ we encounter a 4 x 4 kick and the title says it all. Punchy drums, the old skool bassline and high energy provides a house anthem for the modern floor. ‘Work It’ is a much more modern cut, still with a fleck of 90’s but with a new outlook and smidge of dub thrown in for good measure.
Side D takes things back to electro and ‘Planer Assault’ launches the release into orbit. Pushing the BPM’s higher than before and with the business end of the album is looming there is still time for one more electro banger in the shape of ‘Planet Funk’ and the rapid vocal cuts and nasty basslines mean the vibes are strong right up until the last beat.
Robert James’ ‘Battle Of The Planets’ LP on Body Movement is available to pre-order via Juno now.