Are you looking for something that would sound equally at home in a dimly lit jazz club and at a Saturday night rager? Look no further, Tropics has you covered.
Chris Ward’s venture as Tropics is an intriguing and rewarding one. His seamless ability for genre mashing and songwriting have him as one to watch on 2015.
Tropics is the one-man project of London based multi-instrumentalist Chris Ward. With four EP’s and one LP under his belt Ward is not new to the scene. His star however is certainly on the rise after the release of two new tracks off of his forthcoming sophomore LP Rapture – due to be released on the 17th of February via LA based label Innovative Leisure. Tropics feels a bit like Massive Attack, a bit like Arthur Russell and a bit like Toro Y Moi, yet through emotive lyrics and tight production manages to sound fresh and exciting.
Tropics began as a bedroom project for Ward whilst he was studying Digital Music at Southampton University. It soon evolved into its current form through a steady release of material and the cultivation of an energetic live show with band mates Keith Vaz and Morgan Hislop. Tropics incorporates the use of both soft and hardware – the synth comes from a computer whilst the guitar, drums and keys are played live by Ward and then recorded. This combination gives Ward’s music an emotional and atmospheric vibe, which is further enhanced through soulful vocals and his ability to tap into subtle movements.
Much of Tropics early output was produced in the tranquil yet isolated setting of Ward’s grandmother’s empty house in the seaside town of Southsea in England. Ward moved to the house after completing university with a desire to focus on writing and recording. He has since moved to London and this past year has toured though the United States, Mexico and Europe. Tropics’ debut LP Parodia Flare was released in 2011 via Planet Mu and was recorded in the walk-in closet of Wards’ house. Despite its humble and slightly ad-hoc recording process the LP feels tightly produced and gets you moving with sporadic vocals and rich, swirling electronica.
The two tracks we have heard from Tropics’ upcoming release – Rapture and Blame– suggest a slight shift away from overarching electronic elements and a move towards a more jazz infused sound. Titular track Rapture explores frustration, and the feeling of isolation one can feel in a big city through the use of immersive vocals, steady drums and a shuffling piano track. Blame which is slated to be the LP opener is a song that expresses a moment of regret as Ward whispers, “Did I just let you go? It felt so wrong.” The trip-hop and jazzy vibes create a warm feeling of melancholia and suggest Rapture is going to take the chilled-out nostalgia of Tropics previous releases to a new level, with added texture and sonic complexity.
Alongside his original productions Tropics has proved himself as a talented remixer having worked with tracks by M83, Little Dragon and Wolf Gang. 2015 looks like it will be a big one for the dreamy producer.
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