Following last year's Retrograde Space Opera from the label boss himself, the next chapter has been written by London producer Soloman Rose, AKA Silkie. His story concerns a musician kidnapped to perform in orbiting lounge bars for a galactic elite. And the "lounge" bit is as important as the "space" part when it comes to Fractals. "Moments" opens the whole thing with a sequence of massed choirs, dramatic strings and widescreen synths, and there are traces of Model 500 in the future-funk of "Escape Route." "Majik," however, has a cocktail jazz piano that could herald the arrival of some space-cruise crooner, and turns into something like a slow jam for squeaky aliens. The final part of "Cascada" is also heavy on the tinkling ivories.
Rose has dabbled in this kind of jazz-fusion before. His previous two City Limits albums made a convincing case for him as dubstep's own LTJ Bukem, but the underlying menace of those LPs and some of his Deep Medi Musik records is absent here. Only the gnarled bassline, rave sirens and raucous jungle breaks of "Upstate" add any roughneck edges to Fractals, and make you wish there were a few more bumps in the otherwise smooth ride.
It's striking that a man from the bass music scene, who is often noted for screwface aggression or furrowing introspection, has made an album this accessible and fun. In particular, "Limits" and "Moda" are catchy tunes with lush garage and disco vibes that offer crossover potential. They could shed the concept and work as dance floor anthems in the warmth of an Ibiza terrace or a dying supernova alike. Fractals is like the ideal cocktail for such situations: colourful, fizzy, a little bit silly and a good time while going down.