From humble beginnings in God’s country just over five years ago (that’s Yorkshire for those unfamiliar with the term) experimenting with a plethora of fresh genre-hopping sounds to being a permanent fixture as one of electronic music’s hidden treasures, Ewan Smith AKA Youandewan has tentatively carved his own niche in recent years with his beautifully delicate and melancholy blend of electro, deep house and techno.
It was ‘1988’, Smith’s first ever production, a richly textured, melodic slice of deep house, that really caught the ear of many a discerning listener. Since then Ewan has upped sticks to Berlin and seen his stock gently rise with a string of sublime cuts on labels such as Hypercolour sub-label Hype_LTD, Secretsundaze, Voyage and a strong affiliation with Will Saul’s AUS music imprint. The latter label, AUS music, being the platform to showcase his debut longplayer, ‘There Is No Right Time’.
Three years in the making and stretching across ten tracks, ‘There Is No Right Time’ shows a certain fragility throughout which gives it that cutting edge from your standard club-orientated music. It feels much more a complete album than just a collection of tracks. From the tender mumblings of electronica with opener ‘Have The Guts’, the album quickly holds you in a wave of suspense like something special is waiting on the horizon. Youandewan quickly shows his unique ability to turn his hand at a multitude of genres when ‘Be Good To Me’ soothes your soul with its quivvering pads alongside touches of early 4hero jazz infused breaks. Two tracks in and it’s an utterly entrancing experience already.
‘Waiting For L’ is where Smith really starts to stretch his legs. Crunchy 808 beats act like a metronome for the delicately positioned arps and ethereal pads eventually making way for an infectious bass hook which comes and goes all too quickly. It feels like a warped Boards Of Canada/Drexciya hybrid in the best possible context. ‘Time To Leave (Can’t Mix)’ ambles along loosely with shuffling hats, warbling vocals and twisted keys moulded in an almost Burial like fashion. Hints of the aferparty start to drift through on this one.
‘10405 (Alice)’ is a real heartwarmer. Uplifting and emotive throughout, this harks back to the early Youandewan sound where he began to really come in to his own unique bracket of deep house. ‘Our Odyssey’ is another stand out affair. Building intensity from the outset, it continues its anxious journey through the motions with effortless ease adding layers to create a beautifully textured piece of electronica that fans of James Holden will find most enviable.
‘Something Keeps Me Real Quiet’ strips everything back down to the electro basics. Tense, melancholy atmospherics are woven together by intricate bleeps and bells that sit on top of a crackly, tape infused 808 workout that gives a sleek nod to the Detroit electro of days gone by. ‘Left On Lucy’ sees Smith bring in long time pal Steve Huerta for the the ride. This is the most notable track on the LP that focuses more on the dancefloor aesthetic, which is a welcomed approach that touches on early 90s house that even the hardened ‘chin scratchers’ would find hard not immerse themselves in.
‘Earnest Kelly’ takes a ride through Italo territory with its bustling bassline and vintage arpeggios whisking you straight back to the 80s golden era of Patrick Cowley and the like, with some new age flavours thrown in for good measure. ‘4D Anxiety’ gently rounds everything off with slick, hearty hip hop beats cutting through an ambient climax of euphoric pads and quirky off-kilter whomping synths. This is future music for the refined ear.
It becomes fairly clear that this whole LP could quite easily be enjoyed in the comforts of your own home but, given the right moment, each track could stand their ground in a variety of club environments which is testament to Youandewan‘s progression in sound design as a whole. However, to really gauge how exquisitely crafted the whole offering is it deserves to be listened to in its entirety from start to finish. There is something here for every aural taste and Youandewan has delivered a timeless piece of music with ‘There Is No Right Time’, which won’t be forgotten in a hurry that’s for sure.