‘Global Concepts’ is exactly what it says on the box. There are only so many times a year when I hear something that genuinely sounds like something from the future. It takes a certain finesse to put together a song that is so forward-leaning that its unique quality attracts praise and at the same time, doesn’t ostracise those who might not comprehend what the future sounds like quite yet. , while Brother J might disagree, is one track that moves too far into the future without appropriately calming its audience, teasing out the radical character with helpful hints of familiarity. Robert DeLong, like Toro Y Moi before him gets the balance astoundingly right. We’ve heard all the elements of ‘Global Concepts’ done in parts, across different songs, but we’ve never heard them all in one place, so explosively. DeLong is set to become a new champion of the altronica/drum/indie/electro/gamer set with the release of his debut ‘Just Movement’ on January 22. All he has to do now is reproduce the awesomeness of ‘Global Concepts’ across a suite of tracks. No pressure.
Brother J was actually the first to point me towards DeLong a few months ago but I shrugged off the suggestion at the time. Without properly engaging with ‘Global Concepts’ any first impression is bound to be dominated by thoughts of messiness and disorder. But as with the best bedroom producers and live acts (more on that to come), DeLong seemingly treads a golden path between simple repetition and all out chaos, engineering something that could so easily fall apart at one moment and yet seems ludicrously geometric at others. The brilliance of ‘Global Concepts’, the first single from that forthcoming debut and a change of pace from his high-profile remix work to date, lies in the level of uncertainty that pervades it. DeLong’s own vocals are electro-smooth, melodic, wonderfully American, but consistently threaten to disintegrate or dip into angrier tones. The ‘fucking dance’ drop, twisting and turning in new iterations every time, puts predictable acts like Swedish House Mafia to shame. The breakdown at 3′ is unexpected, unusual and unsettling but makes the best chorus-end version yet, a cheeky, solitary ‘fucking’ all the more bubbly. The synth line is the one constant and even it is fed through machines and rung out like so much moombahton play-doh until any sense of intrinsic order is shot.
About that live show. DeLong, a Seattle local who moved from the hippest city in Washington to LA to ply his wares, has spent almost two years honing his live performance to the point where, from the look of some of it resembles a kind of ecstatic jungle flashing extravaganza. Drummer, synth conductor, MIDI man and Nintendo aficionado, DeLong also uses Wii remotes with pre-programmed sonic functions alongside Sega controllers to add to the geek factor of his electronic take on reggaeton. Channeling moombahton founder Dave Nada, DeLong infuses a Spanish vibe into traditionally Carribean sounds and adds a distinctly nerdy nostalgia (which shouldn’t be mistaken for machismo) to create something that really sounds like not a lot else out there. DeLong has gone big with ‘Global Concepts’, producing a thick gem which would be a delight to experience in real life. Here’s hoping he can scale it, tweak it and keep that rumble pack intact to bring a taste of the future next January.
Robert DeLong – Global Concepts