It's this slight sense of earnestness—of striving to sound much older than its years—that makes Times comparable to debut albums from James Blake and Nicolas Jaar. Like Blake, August isn't averse to the odd croon or tinkle of the ivories, though neither takes centre-stage. The production, however, is much more crowded than Blake's. He shares house and techno rhythms with Jaar, but Times is less experimental than Space Is Only Noise.
August is definitely making dance music, though his classical training has clearly influenced both the live instruments he plays and the structure of his tracks. "Blossom" uses rippling live piano scales rather than your standard synth arpeggio to build tension before the drop. On "Velvet," he orchestrates the synths like strings during the swelling crescendo. "Until We Shine," meanwhile, could almost be an electro-house remix of Bodily Functions-era Herbert, not least because singer Yvy is a dead ringer for Dani Siciliano.
August's polymath productions are undeniably impressive, but what's missing is any sense of playfulness or lightness of touch. "Voices From The Dust," with its monastic choir and solemn piano, sounds so determined to be taken seriously that it might make you giggle. Still, po-faced as can be, August's first album isn't just a record of time well-spent, but a strong hint of interesting things ahead.