Following his majestic debut EP last year, Warm Nights, UK-based producer Reuben Vaun Smith is back with a full-length album under his belt, Sounds From the Workshop, arriving digitally August 27th via the trailblazing London-based Soundway Records, who also released his first EP. The new record finds the producer further refining his eclectic, exploratory approach to production, diving deep into sounds as varied as Soca, Benga, and Trip-Hop, and emphasizing live instrumentation and acoustics.
The result is a diverse assortment of deep and lush tropical house cuts that feel handcrafted and refreshing in their restless search for inventive summertime grooves. Track 1 of Side C, “Flee the Coop”, incorporates an off-kilter, reverb-laden guitar line that rubs up against a more sun-kissed Balearic house beat. On its own, this moaning guitar could feel completely incongruous with the rest of the song, but Reuben’s magic lies in his ability to effortlessly blend such elements into a cohesive whole.
As the song reaches its crescendo, the guitar-infused rhythm is interrupted by synth squalls and beeps, hinting at an impending techno-inspired breakdown. But the result is not nearly as chaotic as one would expect––instead, the song maintains its laid-back, languorous tempo until the very last note before petering out. This speaks somewhat to Reuben’s musical ethos; he’s not trying to break your brain or facilitate an out-of-body experience. He’s more concerned with finding new ways of maintaining a chill, nostalgic summer-vibe.