When Rudimental first released its debut single Spoons, I fell in love. It was chill, silken, soulful, and it gave me a profound heartache I couldn’t get away from. The vocals were magical, and I couldn’t figure out why people weren’t fonder of the song. If this was the tone they were going to set for themselves as an outfit, I would be a longtime fan.
Then they blew up when Feel The Love took over the charts – a song so different from their first entry that I thought they quit their sound altogether in search of mainstream recognition. Turns out, that after many months and singles later, Rudimental was just proving that they were – and still are – the most high-impact, versatile quartet of music maestros I’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing from the electronic scene.
When it comes to EDM, I love a good drop. I love layered productions that slowly reveal themselves only after repeated listening, that make you feel more than you’re comfortable with. Every layer has purpose and isn’t just there for fun.
With Rudimental’s debut full album release Home, that’s what I got plenty of. It’s incredibly easy to regard it as one body of work, rather than a bevy of singles dabbling in the various niches of the genre. Tracks transition unexpectedly well, even if it’s jumping from a gospel-like R&B to straightforward drum and bass, yet it successfully brings you on a ride, covering every kind of emotion you could feel in a collection meant to flex your range; feel-good; sexy; determined; lost, among other things. The album is a whole statement about what makes Rudimental the band they are today – and yes, they are a band, not just four DJs mucking about with their fingers poking at Launchpads. Half the band have Honours degrees in Creative Music and Sound Technology, so they don’t mess around.
I especially love it when artists remember that music was once created with real instruments before technology let you mess around with it. For an electronic band, there’s a lot of untampered pianos, trumpets, strings and organs that transform songs into grand anthems and add the extra piece of soul to make you go, “ooh”. It’s using the technology to take music to another level instead of masking it with obnoxious horning, bells and whistles. I always thought that a great electronic song proves itself if you can take away the frills of production and still have something good to listen to when it’s standing rather naked before you. So far, their songs seem to be that way. In fact, I’m so impressed that everything in the live session of Not Giving In is basically all performed with not a Launchpad or turntable/MacBook in sight.
A perfect medley of old and new
Deliciously gooey vocals by John Newman
And it’s not just their heavy use of instruments that drive the music. It’s the voices they choose. The vocals of Ella Eyre, Sinead Harnett, MNEK, and John Newman will be perfectly at home in nusoul, funk, or disco ballads, but here they are in these dance tracks, belting small choruses and single stanza lines with utmost conviction. They end up being so powerful because their message is just being pumped into your head.
It’s weird to say this, but I think if you love traditional funk and soul you’ll find it easier to transition into electronic music if you listen to Home. I feel like a lot of it is rooted in that, and it quite expertly marries it to the ever difficult-to-love (for someone not acquainted with) drum and bass to form something very special. To be honest, I don’t even like drum and bass, but I absolutely love what Rudimental did with Home.
Here are some tracks that stand out for me:
Spoons, my fave; titled so because the tapping treble is literally the sound of spoons
Baby (with Sinead Harnett & MNEK)
Free (with Emeli Sandé)
Right Here (with Foxes)
Buy them off iTunes, it’s completely worth it.