Ron Trent presents WARM What Do the Stars Say to You Night Time Stories
Rejoice! Ron Trent is back with his first full-length project in over a decade – an impeccable reimagining of the cinematic jazz-funk records that shaped his childhood. And, as if on cue, the sun is finally shining.
Let’s be clear: Trent is not the first artist in recent years to pay homage to this particular golden era. In fact, contemporary electronic music is shaped by its influence; from the new-age-indebted ambient output of labels like Music from Memory, via the loungey house of Vancouver’s Mood Hut crew, right through to the neo-soft-rock of Bullion and his disciples. Sunny retro-futurist stylings have filled spring-summer release schedules for some time now, with soft pads, plucked bass synths and vintage drum machine samples being rolled out wherever you look.
What does set Trent’s offering apart, however, is just how accomplished and authentic a tribute this is. Where others rely on stylistic shortcuts – be it unimaginative sampling or downright plagiarism – What Do the Stars Say to You is the real deal. Album opener Cool Water could easily pass for a late-70s Azymuth cut (and not just because it features the band’s Ivan Conti on drums). Similarly, the appearance of French violinist Jean-Luc Ponty feels justified and deserved – all the more impressive when you learn that Trent actually wrote the bulk of his part for him. This project is not just an exercise in imitation; it’s one of genuine appreciation, assimilation and understanding.
Some of the album’s most exciting moments come when Trent meets his old heroes in the middle to trace the dots that link jazz to funk, disco and house. On My Way Home – the album’s most obviously modern-sounding track – could almost pass for a particularly indulgent breakdown in one of his usual house productions, as the glossy digital production breathes new life into the vintage instrumentation at play. What Do the Stars Say to You is the sound of a modern master putting his mark on the music that raised him.