When I recently interviewed Vince Watson, we talked about the rather nebulous concept of "soul." He couldn't quite describe what "it" is; only that music has to have it. In any case, the explanation may not be necessary: in Watson's world, soul is a euphemism for genuine musicality. He may never have illustrated this better than on his sixth album, Every Soul Needs a Guide. Originally intended for Laurent Garnier's F Communications back in 2006, the LP was retracted after the label went bust. And though Watson has spent some five years revising it, the broken beat, jazz-tinged result still sounds like a perfect fit for the imprint.
More so, however, cuts like "Never Too Late" and "Every Soul Needs a Guide" remind me of Japanese artists like Little Big Bee, Hideo Kobayashi and Jazztronik. The former track tethers rainy-day piano to the gentle drip of brush-hit snares, while the latter mashes gaudy Rhodes chords against soaring pads and a colourful Korg solo. As with the Japanese acts, both tracks meld jazz and electronic tropes with utmost sensitivity. On the songs with a slight orchestral slant, a similarly tasteful approach is to be found: broken beat, string-laden opener "Found What I'm Looking For," for example.
It's not all home listening, however. At least half the tracks hold dance floor potential. Though already released in two versions, the upbeat "Love in F Minor" appears here in a third. Set atop crisp, snapping percussion, its sweeping strings and brightly-hued dabs of synth are intensely emotional. "Reach for the Sun" is more playful, bouncing chirpy bird calls over plush bass and keys. But wherever it goes, Every Soul remains possessed by a profound melodic complexity, although one which sacrifices nothing in terms of accessibility. Final track "The Journey" may portray this best. Contrasting a sonorous piano sequence with lighter chords and majestic strings, it effortlessly scales towering heights.
It's no easy task to produce a standout album this late in the game, and yet that's exactly what Vince Watson has done. Every Soul is a perfect meeting between his tech house beginnings?in the original sense of the word, of course?and the jazz, symphonic and soundtrack music he hopes to further explore in the future.
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Tracklist: Vince Watson - Every Soul Needs a Guide 01. Found What Im Looking For
02. Come With Me
03. Never Too Late
04. Every Soul Needs A Guide (Album Mix)
05. Voodoo Disco (Latin Mix)
06. A Fairytale
07. Love In F Minor (2012 Album Mix)
08. When Souls Collide
09. Fly Like A Bird
10. Reach For The Sun
11. The Journey