[Ed’s note: We’re aware that this article begins with a sports comparison, but stick with us…]
Last year, when football’s English Premier League winning team member Jamie Vardy broke the record for the most consecutive goals scored in Premier League matches, one BBC commentator, as opposed to gushing with praise, simply said “Of course, it’s Jamie Vardy!”. Such was the quality of his form at the time. With each passing accomplished performance, spectators were left unsurprised, not even bemused, but rather wondering: ‘What other outcome could there possibly have been?’
The same feeling is slowly starting to collate around Joburg-based producer Escapism Refuge, who today released his second EP of the year with British collective Deep Heads. Of course the music is extremely refined. Of course the nocturnal sound design is outshone only by the intricate percussive work. Of course, it’s Escapism. Of course, what other outcome could there possible have been?
The Joker EP has been released as part of the long running Smokin’ Sessions series of releases, of which this EP represents the 31st edition. Beyond this, the release will also be Escapism Refuges’s first release to be pressed to vinyl (a significant victory in today’s world of electronica).
The music on the release sees the producer doubling down even further on themes established earlier in his catalogue, aiming more for incremental refinement than discontinuous breaks. Thus, ‘No Signal’, the first song released from the EP, represents him at his best. Each of the established elements shines, but the music preceding it and following the EP hints at important shifts in the formula. The opening track, ‘Joker’, slows the energy and relies more on a dub-leading bounce, while the EP’s closer ‘Perception’ might be his most propulsive work yet – undercutting its contemplative melodies and atmospheres with 2-step drums.
Without a doubt, this EP will serve as another step forward in Escapism’s career in the international underground – with support growing from tastemakers and producers like Lefto and Phaeleh, as well as radio personalities like Donn Letts at BBC Radio 6.