Mr. G’s Phoenix G imprint began 2016 with a debut release from Jayson Wynters. Despite the label being active since 1999, this is only the second time Phoenix G has released a record that has no production input from Mr. G himself, the other being Ariel’s 2004 ‘Central’. Understandably, it has taken something rather special for this exception to occur.
Wynters was first known for cutting his teeth as a garage MC in Birmingham, before rising to prominence in the city’s underground radio scene, where he has showcased an impressive knowledge of rare groove and house music. He approached Mr. G to mentor him after a meeting in Stockholm, and despite initial reluctance, G was so impressed with the fruits of Wynters’ labour that he felt the need to ‘put [his] money where his mouth is’ by releasing the work. The product of this relationship is the ‘Unfamiliar Territories’ EP.
The A-side of the record sees Wynters crafting spacey, Detroit-referencing techno. Opener ‘Momentum’ floats around a subaquatic bassline, while glitchy acid licks add a robotic sense of character to the piece. The title track ‘Unfamiliar Territories’ is a more direct take on the sound, applying the same scratchy synths and unearthly pads to a four-to-the-floor framework. The B-side is more housey, but similarly eerie. Closing track ‘1 More’ sits on top of a bouncy bassline that could have been designed by Mr. G himself, and is probably the most dancefloor-ready cut on the record.
However, the most interesting track is probably B1, ‘Science’. Set over a finely crafted house beat, a Patois monologue discusses how “most people take music as an entertainment, something to dance to, enjoy yourself and go to bed tomorrow… music must never be forgotten”, as well as stating that “music is like a science”. As well as this monologue perfectly suiting the track, it reveals a lot about Wynters’ approach to music: his songs show a scientific approach to detail, and possess a longevity that dancefloor records often lack. It is surely for these reasons that Mr. G felt it necessary to take Wynters under his wing, and we are interested to see where he goes next.