From 2008, College has been able to craft music that is both unique and uncompromising. Whether it be through his own work, or on other projects, we have been left in awe of his artistry, time and time again.
Long player, ‘Heritage’, or extended player, ‘Teenage Colour’, there has been no let up in attention to detail in his productions, creating great admiration for College, across the board. This is not just for what he does but for how he does it.
And how easy would it have been after ‘A Real Hero’ to take to the ‘commercial’ way of life: creating tracks similar to his greatest individual success, gaining further status and gratis.
It is rather pleasing that College did not take this path. Yes, it gave both the scene and himself great exposure, but that was all he wanted. College is, quite rightly, made the correct move. All that has changed is the maturity and steady evolution of his work and more people listening to good, quality music.
And with ‘Save The Day’, it is quite safe to say that as our hearts have grown fonder, the music has gotten even stronger.
The EP opens with ‘Old Maps’, and College’s trademark minimalism couldn’t sound any fresher. Building nicely, with low-tech drums and chirpy synthesisers, we are given a mildly upbeat track. As with being in a room of old maps, you get an excitement to hurry through but you cannot, as you are gripped with a sense of wonder.
‘The Gathering’ has a more sinister feel; it is quite dark for a College record. You will find, with the EP, that every track that is on offer here is different, and has a different story to tell. Imagining a group plotting, scheming and always on the move, for fear of discovery, is the impression felt whilst listening. The raw pace and energy ebbing and flowing, with no pause for breath, is exhilarating.
Next, with ‘Numbers’, is a vision. Great people like George Orwell and Philip K. Dick have written stories of future control that have been both gripping and, yet, frightening, due to their gift of being able to create a fictional glimpse of our future. College has the ability to do this through musical expression; ‘Le Choix’, for example. Are we just a number? Do we do as we are told? And do advertisement boards actually contain hidden words like consume and sleep? Maybe College knows, and the only way to save us is to be able to convey his messages of freedom through the power of electronica. Either way, this a thought consuming piece.
Finally, the vocal driven ‘Save The Day’ comes in to close this excellent EP. College has worked fleetingly with vocalists, but when the time comes he always finds a certain harmony with his collaborator. With College, he thrives on throwing down the gauntlet to the vocalist, happily taking a back seat and building his production around them. This time it is Nola Wren who has been hand picked, as such, and her carefully layered and quite beautiful vocals really shine here.
Every listen brings further addiction, and admiration. College has kept us waiting with this release, but for many, many, good reasons. It is a cliche to say that four tracks are not enough but then any more would have been too much. The balance is perfect with both the amount of tracks on offer and the quality of them.
This is a graduation of sound.