- Since Disclosure laid out their plan for global domination last summer, many electronic producers have conceived similar pop and R&B vocal collaborations. Few have attempted to center a concept around the trend, however, and where Disclosure's debut exists as a youthful, loosely-cobbled manifesto, LA producer Groundislava's third LP is a mature and tightly knit lovelorn narrative, featuring the vocals of Rare Times' Anthony Calonico. Until now, it would have been unfair to even draw comparisons between the artists, but rising stock in the Disclosure-esque groups bears note, as it's become increasingly difficult to distinguish the sincere from the overtly commercial. Groundislava—real name Jasper Patterson—has leaned toward the former, building on a stunning 8-bit inspired debut in 2012 with his second LP Feel Me, a collection of airy experimental tracks that stayed faithful to his original style while shifting into something dark and strangely beautiful.
Patterson has done plenty of vocal collaborations in the past, but Terminate Uplink relies solely on Calonico, who, try as he may, just doesn't have the kind of range needed to pull off a convincing break-up album. On the title track, he confuses self-absorption with profundity, delaying until the last minute the ever-cheesy line: "I've discovered that without you it's only a frozen throne." Instrumental tracks like "Terminate Uplink" and "The Descent," however, exhibit the transporting work of a growing producer unhindered by commercial influence. Hearing an artist with a singular style expend so much energy on disposable EDM-tinged collaborations feels like a waste.
On the few tracks where Calonico does shine ("Under The Glow", "Feel The Heat"), it's only at the hands of Patterson's crafty filters and editing, and even then, the tone isn't nearly as genuine as the instrumentals, which are unfortunately scarce, totaling four on the entire album. Frozen Throne is a sincere attempt at conceptual novelty that contains a few glimmers of hope, but of its many flaws, Patterson's lack of confidence on his own seems the most glaring.
01. Girl Behind The Glass feat. Rare Times
02. Terminate Uplink
03. Frozen Throne feat. Rare Times
04. Under The Glow feat. Rare Times
05. The Descent
06. Feel The Heat feat. Rare Times
07. October Acid
08. A Way Out
09. October Pt. 2 feat. Rare Times
10. Steel Sky feat. Rare Times