Wayward is the fast-emerging Experimental Electronic music project of the London-based duo Lawrence Gayle Hayes and Louis Greenwood, who have gained acclaim from Pitchfork, Mixmag and Vice. They have worked as A&R’s for Silver Bear Recordings, and released material through the Australia-based Beasts Of No Nation label and Fort Romeau’s Cin Cin Records label, and they have been in the studio with the likes of Ninja Tune’s Park Hye Jin and Grammy-winning producer Skrillex. In March, the pair of producers released their debut LP, ‘Waiting For The World’, which was influenced by Burial’s ‘Untrue’ and they combined Drum & Bass, House, Breakbeat and Ambient elements into a concise record.
Their latest release is ‘Sapphire Eyes’, a four track EP which was self-released on September 29th. It was inspired by the rave experiences they had while growing up in London – an ode to nightclubs and community. Citing influences like Addison Grove, Machine Drum and Overmono for their latest short form release, the duo shared on their own Bandcamp page in a press statement, “If our debut album showcased the more reflective side of our yearning for clubs, and a softer side of the lockdown experience, this EP is the anger, frustration and urgency coming out”, concluding, “Stuck indoors again just wanting to band it out in a club with the intention of making something completely focused on the dance floor” in the notice.
Their fourth track on the record, ‘Camden Road’ sticks out amongst the others for the emotive feelings which it shares, coming across to me as more nostalgic than euphoric. It boasts a similar sound to some early 00’s Hyperdub recordings and more recent Footwork releases, where the Synths and the propulsive basslines feel as vibrant as the mixed multi-cultural community that their hometown, which they are paying tribute to, has become known for in recent developments. Their vocals play with escapism, with Lawrence reciting the likes of “So much life, so much fun” and “Festivals in Hungary with black people” with a slightly muted Spoken Word delivery that doesn’t feel massively poetic, and feels grounded in approach instead, with a soft Hip-Hop rhythm and a mumbled tone of speech which fits the wonky production aspects and the very metropolitan aesthetics of London. The rest of the instrumentation goes down a treat too, with a looped Piano melody and light Synth pads creating a gentle opening, before Wayward flip the switch for the big chorus where they replace the light-hearted beats with a more rugged dance style, using some swooping drums and syncopated vocal chops to hit a BPM of around 130, which feels subversive and unpredictable when the earlier melodies are flipped on their head. Overall, I was very impressed with ‘Camden Road’, a modern dance track that has an ability of conjuring up some feelings and visuals for their listeners, a rare technique that greats like Aphex Twin and Burial have achieved in their career. It feels as fresh and lively as the street it is based on – A sprawling, multi-cultural metropolis.
Words by Jacob Braybrooke
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