Album: I’ll Wait, I Guess
Label: Critical Music
Release Date: June 16, 2023
Location: Bristol, United Kingdom
I had seen a lot of hype online in certain groups for Hyroglifics, but I had never checked out his music until this week. I started with his debut full-length release I’ll Wait, I Guess, and boy had I been missing out all this time. What I was treated to, was a sonic journey that spanned everything from hip hop, drum & bass, and dubstep to drill, ambient and jazz, all expertly woven in together as if it was in a natural state of being but all with an infectious energy driving it.
Now to clarify things a little, Hyroglifics is Matt Harris, a well-established drum & bass artist in the UK, the music on the album is all him. The vocals, however, are provided by guest artists such as Yeo Limone, Nah Eeto, Deft, Black Josh, Lyza Jane and Feux. Each of these collaborations are met with perfectly curated musical accompaniments, giving each song a vastly different energy and tone. These collaborations show just how diverse and adaptive Matt Harris is as a song writer and creator.
A key element to keep in mind here is that while Harris pushes boundaries and creates completely unique sounds in the process, he still always ties things back to that signature UK D&B sound and energy. As a result, many will feel a sense of familiarity with this album, while at the same time having their minds blown by its experimentation and broad range. Its this interweaving of respect for the classics and a desire to go further and more complex that makes his music so special.
Forgetting about every other element on the album (as hard as that is to do), Harris has a way with synths that gives his music a unique edge over many of his contemporaries in that realm. He’s able to make them feel almost otherworldly at points, giving the music a sort of alien undertone. Thanks to the high energy D&B elements in the music this undertone is kept subtle and doesn’t overpower the music, but if you’re paying attention, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s a testament to the quality of the layering and texturing achieved on I’ll Wait, I Guess and represents only one of many overlapping and interwoven elements throughout the album.
It’s no easy feat to pick favourites from this album, as there is so much on offer, and it all has its own unique selling points. However I’ll say that listening from start to finish, the first song that really had me say “WOW” is Steel Cap Beanie. This track is just incredible, the complexity of sound, the pulsing beats, the energy driving it, it all just works so well and immediately showcases just why Harris deserves your respect. The song flows on perfectly to Two For Two (w/ Deft), which is equally as engaging for the same reasons. Following these is Air Max Flow (feat. Black Josh), another killer track that perfectly shifts the tone of the music to create top tier grime with a catchy but edgy beat and biting vocals and lyrics. Skip ahead slightly to Ill Wait, I Guess and we get a varied and atmosphere laden track that is both mysterious and somewhat menacing, with sparingly used vocal samples. As I mentioned the whole album is fantastic, but these few tracks really stood out for me.
Overall, I see this is a solid debut and one that has me excited about the future for Matt Harris. To refer to him as a rising star doesn’t feel like a stretch at all at this point, as his music is very clearly making waves, both in the UK and abroad. If you’re a fan of drum & bass, grime or electronic music in general then I highly recommend taking the time to give this album a spin today.
Listen to and order the album: