Red Bull Music Academy alumni Christian Tiger School round off a breakthrough year with a flourish of ethereal trip hop on If You Want To; their first physical release – via Edmondson’s Lissoms imprint – despite emerging as one South Africa’s most exciting live electronica acts in the recent times. Accompanied with two contrasting remixes from Gacha Bakradze and Edmondson himself, the Cape Town duo’s latest offering comes off the back of an extensive continent-spanning tour, including a prestigious Sonar Premier of “If You Want To”, as well as the inevitable journeying into soundtrack territory with the tapping of “The Soul of Morpheus and The Comet Man” – taken from their acclaimed 2012 album The Third Floor – for a new BBC drama.
“If You Want To” is a crackle of lo-fi breaks shuffling within the swing of deliberate, bass laden kicks; the simple contrast of rhythm sonically pleasing enough to carry the track through 8 minutes with only minor, yet effective nuances in drum programming. Although the addition of burial-esque atmospherics soak the track in obvious evocation, Christian Tiger School seemingly have the taste to demonstrate simplicity well, creating a gorgeous yet effortless track by exercising restraint.
Gacha Bakradze brings a 4×4 breeze to proceedings with a mellow synth-rock rework. Acoustic instrumentation in the form of guitar licks and hand claps give the track a beach-concert vibe, albeit one playing out groovy yet particularly unremarkable house music. Edmondson fares better on the remix with melodic and expansive two-step, almost making the original feel a little dense and constrained. Minimal details are utilised sparingly; vocal snippets elevate the underlying emotion, whilst the shift in focus towards the sombre chords in the latter stages helps to create a cut that is altogether more dynamic.
Previous releases can be loosely fitted into beat scene aesthetic – “If You Want To” takes that instrumental influence UK-centric with exquisite breaks to soundtrack dancefloors and film alike. The combination of acclaimed live shows with a solid physical release (minus the weak Gacha version) should point to a very bright 2018 for the duo, who are often described as the future of instrumental electronica – a statement that’s bolstered by this year’s success, capped off with a reasonably satisfying 12 inch.