Album Reviews

Prins Thomas – Ambitions

(Smalltown Supersound) UK release date: 5 April 2019

Prins Thomas is his name, odyssean grooves are his game: having made a name for himself with lengthy synth-driven workouts, his newest record Ambitions continues in this vein with two centrepiece songs lasting a combined 23 minutes.

The former of these, the album’s title track, is based around a sleight of hand trick. An ostinato bubbles up, seemingly in 9/8, various bits of percussion add their polyrhythmic motifs, a 4×4 kickdrum pulse enters to ground the piece, a bassline is added and gradually replaces the ostinato. Then in the final few minutes the ostinato re-enters, but something is different. It isn’t in 9/8 anymore, this time snugly fitting with the rest of the track as a 2-beat loop.

Not everything is this heady – Foreplay kicks the record off with tranquil bird song, a sweet bassline and chords that sound like something bouncing off metallic springs, while Urmannen impresses with its sprawling synth solo. But it is Feel The Love that has the most immediate impact, a calming mantra set to laidback funk instrumentation. The vibe is heavenly, especially as a processed version of this vocal hook echoes around beleaguered synth stabs.

A big part of the appeal of a Prins Thomas album is getting lost in moments like these, letting layers of grooves and pads wash over you. Fra Miami Til Chicago is another great example of this, a plucked melody skipping gently around syncopated bass and tumbling hi-hats until the horizon, and by the time Sakral ends the record on a relatively climactic note it’s clear that Thomas has knocked it out of the park again.

Loops, beats and synths unite to create a beautiful and serene experience on Ambitions, one worth returning to again and again for fans of instrumental electronica.

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