REVIEW: Gang Colours – The Keychain Collection

For those who may not yet be familiar with Gang Colours, let’s start with the introductions; Gang Colours is the artist name for Will Ozanne, a young producer from Southampton, signed to Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings imprint, and it’s really not hard to see why the much-revered DJ fell in love with Ozanne’s music.

The first track on Gang Colours’ debut album, The Keychain Collection, is called Heavy Petting, and it’s the best opening to an album I’ve heard in years. It sits somewhere between instrumental intro and full length track. The interaction between the sub bass and the bass drum alone is worth the album price. From the outer space synth line and the analog sounds to the humanised drum programming, textures seem to swim and swirl like paint in a zero gravity chamber.

Tracklisting:

01. Heavy Petting
02. Forgive Me?
03. To Repel Ghosts
04. I Don’t Want You Calling
05. Pebble Dash
06. Tissues & Fivers
07. Botley In Bloom
08. Fancy Restaurant
09. On Compton Bay

Ozanne’s piano playing is perhaps the most obviously bewitching part of this LP. I’ve listened to this album a dozen times and I still think the opening chord sequence to I Don’t Want You Calling is on a par with any piece of music I’ve ever heard. The emotion is mournful, but calming and beautiful. The drums come in slightly off kilter, and the repeated breathing of the reversed vocal is a wonderful segue to guide the loop back to the beginning. No words can truly describe my feelings when I first heard it. Things like ‘awe’ and ‘introspection’ come to mind, but they cannot compare to the flood of inspiration that poured through my heart.

Despite the sombre nature of the music the album seems to fly by. Tissues & Fivers, another gorgeous piano piece, is the longest song at 4m26s. A lot of artists and bands are returning to the older, ten track album format, and the first single is under three minutes long. Fancy Restaurant is a sweet and gentle ode about having no money and trying to find a way to treat someone to a nice meal. It is a good representation, fitting into the frame as a vignette in a series of wry, everyday observations.

Looking at the album as a whole, Ozanne’s vocals are never omnipresent, only added where needed. They seem to serve more as an instrument, seamlessly appearing from the melodic mist before vanishing again. Overall, it’s a definite 10/10. Everything works together, the mixing is sumptuous and the composition is faultless. As indulgent as it is to say, it’s only March and I already know it will be up there as one of my top albums of 2012.