- Fred Peterkin's FP-Oner project has lately become a source of respite. The trilogy of albums on Mule Musiq, based on a sequence of numbers, contain some of his calmest material in recent years. 5 represented the "dynamic and unpredictable"; 6 stood for an "earthly and more harmonious discord"; and 7, the latest and final instalment, focuses on a balance between the two. The result is one of Peterkin's most well-rounded albums. 7 captures the jazzy magic of his earliest releases, as Black Jazz Consortium, back when he was printing handmade labels onto CD-Rs.
Like most Fred P albums, 7 is long. At 76 minutes, it takes up almost the entire capacity of a CD. Most tracks exceed seven minutes. But it's worth your time—Peterkin conjures up some of his most mesmerizing atmospheres here. "Traveling Zones," for example, is an astounding piece of deep house. The hi-hats coat the background like a vapour trail. The melodic leads are rich. The drums have a soft, jazzy feel. The interplay between these elements is fascinating enough, but the synth lead's subtle changes are especially enveloping.
7 is defined by small gestures that require close listening. "Light Years" breezes between passages of soulful singing and chattering speech, drawing attention to the vocalist Minako. But it also has the album's most dynamic drum pattern, switching fluidly between snare, kick and hat combos. "Cosmic Waters" adds new elements slowly—an arpeggio that shimmies up and down, an innocuous acid line—so that nothing disturbing its careful, steady flow.
Peterkin pulls off an impeccable balancing act between tension and softness. "Living Waters" has strange, almost distracting noises throughout, but the piano and synth create a beautifully supple backdrop that makes room for one of Peterkin's funkiest basslines. The pacy drums on "Light Years" are kept in check by the track's dazed feel and noodling leads. Every forceful element on 7 is offset by something lighter, which creates a harmony at the core of the LP.
There's nothing on 7 that will surprise fans of Fred P, but there's plenty to please them. There are ambient backdrops as soft and vibrant as the watercolour paintings that adorn the FP-Oner albums. Jazzy chord progressions come in or switch up at the perfect moment, sometimes when you're least expecting it. Exquisite drum programming and EQing make the drums feel like an intimate tap on the shoulder. You can easily lose track of time engrossed in a ten-minute track. 7 sounds exactly as you'd expect a Fred P album to sound, only better.
01. Chapter 7
03. Cosmic Waters
04. Follow The Sound
05. Light Years feat. Minako
06. Like Yesterday
07. Beyond Understanding
08. Living Waters
09. Travelling Zones
10. Simple Things