Review: Tripswitch is back and better than ever with Vagabond

Artist: Tripswitch
Title: Vagabond
Label: Iboga Records
Release : Out Now
Formats: Double gatefold 12” vinyl / CD digipack / Digital download
Genre : Progressive House

The long awaited return of Tripswitch sees this veteran of the chill out scene evolve into a producer of the finest deeply melodic, progressive house music. Previous highlights have included 2 critically acclaimed albums (‘Circuit Breaker’ and ‘Geometry’) and numerous singles, EPs and inclusions on compilations from the likes of Jose Padilla (Café del Mar), Claude Challe (Buddha Bar), Nick Warren (GU, Renaissance, Balance), and Gaudi (Iboga Records), among many others.

Feeling in need of a fresh challenge and creative new direction after 10 years of establishing himself as one of the world’s premium chillout producers, Nick Brennan has been focused on exploring and developing a more dancefloor-orientated ethos whilst adding to his ever-growing catalogue of tracks and remixes over the past 4 years.

This new album project for 2016 is the culmination of his experiments in steadily upping the tempo of his renowned live performances. Having locked himself in his studio for many months to develop this exciting new sound into something cohesive and uniquely ‘Tripswitch’, the resulting recordings proved irresistible for Iboga Records, a label with an exemplary record of breaking down barriers and blurring the boundaries between the progressive trance and house scenes.

“Most of it was written in the space of about four or five months I think. I was getting a bit tired of the same old experience doing chill out, so thought I’d mix it up. 

Releasing on double gatefold vinyl is a real dream come true for me, and something I never thought would happen… the format was in sharp decline by the time my first album came out in 2005.

We’ve gone all out with the quality, from the 180g vinyl to the heavy card inner sleeves and a lot of time spent getting the artwork right. It’s not cheap pressing vinyl so we all agreed that if it was worth doing, it was worth doing right.” – Tripswitch

I have to admit to a real excitement about hearing this collection of tracks for the first time. I became a fan of Nick’s chill out music via (as for many of us) Nick Warren’s amazing GU mix in Paris, and on hearing the final beats of the first track chime out, I knew I was in good hands.

The tracks are immaculately produced, perfectly balanced and above all musically satisfying. It reminds me very much of the debut album from Dousk (DIY) on Greek imprint Klik – a great label for deep progressive music – in that its sounds like Nick has captured the joy of summer in musical form.

Chicane is another comparative name that instantly springs to mind, not that I want you to think this album is in anyway generic or same-y, more that the quality and composition of each track causes me to make links in the dimly lit corners of my brain.

“Glass Heart  is possibly my favourite track on the album. It’s got that relentless hypnotic building quality that just keeps going, and I just love the breakdown. It’s testament to the power of good processing too …

I gave my mate a laugh by playing it to him without any of the effects plugins enabled, it sounded hilarious, particularly the breakdown with the sax and marimba. Take off the delays etc and it sounds like a two year old on a Fisher Price xylophone.” – Tripswitch

I have to say Glass Heart and Divine Falsehoods were two of my album highlights.  Their sonic beauty, delicate vocal arrangement and otherworldliness taking the listener to a special play only great music can. Payola for its honest to goodness old school appeal was also something I really enjoyed and reminded me just how good 90s progressive was, and how lucky I was to have experienced it. They broke the mould when they made those… until Nick that is.

Welcome back old friend.

01. The Way Home
02. Divine Falsehoods
03. Vagaries
04. Glass Heart
05. Big Time Line
06. Zoetrope
07. Payola
08. The Left Bank
09. Hulahoop