At the turn of an Easter weekend in the pandemic, the long-awaited release of Addison Groove’s LP Fred Neutron via Bristol label Gutterfunk is here. His first release in six years the LP comes at the perfect time for some glossy home listening.
Tony Williams moved away from his former dubstep pseudonym Headhunter onwards from 2010 towards a more boundless style as Addison Groove, which saturates throughout his discography.
Williams has previously admitted in interviews to finding a more eclectic feel in his sets as Addison Groove, ranging over disparate styles and genres.
After the critical success of the 2010 dubstep hit “Footcrab”, Williams has continued to combine influences of jungle, acid and footwork, experimenting with a capella vocals and groovy rhythms whilst simultaneously sticking to his relationship with the bleeps of the Spectrum sound he grew up with. The LP’s futuristic title Fred Neutron sets the tone of an experimental, scientific journey, testing new sounds and collaborations.
“Burning Spear” opens the album with an almost overwhelming combustion of synths, echoing vocals and percussion, layered atop of an unstoppable beat. It pays homage to William’s immersion in Bristol’s sound system culture, and holds the textured variety of sounds which he used to cut as Headhunter.
Next, the club-ready “Brand New Drop” slows the pace with its firm bassline and hypnotic vocals. This one has already garnered significant attention worldwide, with early support from the likes of Nina Kraviz and Gilles Peterson.
But Williams operates on a transient scale, so that when his sound wanders to dance-floor ready anthems like the free and loose “TechnoJuke”, he showcases his skill as a floor-pleasing DJ.
“Laguna’ and “Out of Nowhere” emulate the DJ’s chicago-footwork and juke influence, with their affinity to new speeds, snares, and hi-hats. The sampling used in “Out of Nowhere” conjures a serene landscape combined with housey stylistics. “Dreamscape 12” is a firm nod to Williams’ passion for jungle and influence of drum & bass, reminding us how boundariless Williams’ sound is. The addictive bassline which breaks halfway through is synonymous with the hardcore energy of rave culture, and a reference to the infamous 90s dreamscape raves.
Addison Groove’s only collaboration on the LP is with Chouk Bwa, a Haitian mizik rasin (roots music) band who incorporate hypnotic percussive rhythms to the track “Rele Dawomey ft. Chouk Bwa”, further alluding to William’s ability as a limitless producer.
The LP finishes off with “Cider Was Stronger Than the Weed”, a slightly acidic electro taking us back to the scientific undertones reminiscing from its title and his own roots of his early fascination of ‘beepy music’.
There’s seemingly no set journey in Fred Neutron, but Addison Groove seamlessly jumps from genre to genre, sound to sound, an aesthetic he is assigned to. He may be a Bristolian, but his clear worldwide influences are brought to the forefront in this colossal EP, and it will certainly provide a groovy backdrop for all moods this Easter.