Bensley – Next Generation [RAM Records]

It’s rare for next artists to live up to the hype these days, and the hype surrounding Bensley has been considerable. After signing exclusively to RAM in a shower of media buzz (despite having released precisely zero tracks at that point), all went very quiet on the Bensley front for some time, until February when Fandango gave us our first taste of the man’s talents.

The wait is now over and Bensley’s debut LP Next Generation has been with us for a couple of weeks, and this reviewer believes it is worthy of the hype. The whole sound the young Canadian has carved on the record manages to avoid the traditional D&B sub-genre pigeon-holes aptly; it has the RAM Records polish, but he’s not trying to be the next DC Breaks, and it has a strong sense of melody without sounding like the plethora of genre liquid to be found on Hospital or Fokuz.

What then, makes the album special? The clear influence of IDM and Ambient, for a start; everything about the chord progressions, pad work and song structure shows a man who loves D&B but also listens to plenty of more diverse electronic music. The soaring synth lead of Fool’s Gold (paired with equally soaring guitar) and the early µ-Ziq-esque chimings of Rain Dance are but two examples on an album that has plenty more.

Better still, this is an LP which ignores any temptation for radio-friendly singles or dancefloor-friendly “wait for the drop” tracks. There isn’t a vocalist in sight, and many of the beat patterns share more in common with downtempo than D&B. Even on the more upbeat tracks like Manta or Aftermath there’s the strong sense that this has been designed as much for your armchair as the club, though we’re willing to bet both of those tracks would move a crowd.

It’s rare to hear true innovation in any style of music these days, and while the elements of Bensley’s style can easily be traced back to their original sources he has configured them into a most pleasing sonic jigsaw that isn’t quite like anything else on the scene right now, and for that he should be applauded. Check out a mix of the album tracks below and hit up your favourite store to grab a copy now!

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