Tropics is Chris Ward, a young downtempo producer from Britain whose music has recently begun to tug at our nostalgic heart strings. His most recent EP, Home & Consonance, was released April 30th on Five Easy Pieces and has done nothing but further our interest in his interesting approach to downtempo music.
Home & Consonance contains four tracks that blend together surprisingly well for an EP. The title track, “Home & Consonance,” opens the EP with slow tempo keys accompanied Ward’s relaxing vocals and then through the introduction of rhythmic drums and other light procession evolves into a much more full sound. This track really demonstrates why Tropics stands out among other producers making similar downtempo music, his range in instrumentation and confident vocals blend elements from many different genres together into his own unique sound.
The second track, “Courage,” is still essentially a downtempo song, although it varies in elements of R&B and features the vocal charm of Gavin Turek who has worked with other “hard to define” producers like TOKiMONSTA. Tropics is no stranger to working with powerful female vocalists; he has already officially remixed a popular Little Dragon song, “A New,” a few years back and the results were captivating. Tropics remixes have all been fantastic although his real talents lie in his own work and the Home & Consonance EP proves that tenfold.
Downtempo is one of those music genres that almost always sounds better through noise cancelling headphones, which albeit understandable can sometimes be frustrating when a great song sounds flat when listening to it through speakers. Tropics leans more towards the instrumental side of downtempo leaving the ambient tones out whenever possible. This makes for a great listen both with headphones and through speakers. Some people will never encounter this issue since they only listen to music through headphones, but at IYS we feel this production style is a huge plus in our book.
The last two tracks “Don’t You Know” and “Fleeting Haunt” do not shift much in terms of production style from the first two. Both are solid tracks and “Don’t You Know” contains hints of R&B within both the production and vocals and it really sparks the question: why did Tropics not just record an entire record in this style? Either way we hold this EP in high regard and cannot wait for the next release.
1. Home & Consonance
2. Courage (Feat. Gavin Turek)
3. Don’t You Know
4. Fleeting Haunt