Luke Dalton aka Tincture is a producer from Australia who has been building his reputation based on the strength of his remixes of pop tunes (see his remix of Christian Aguilera’s “Genie in a Bottle”), as well as the occasional original tune. Tryst marks his debut, a five track EP of fairly unoriginal but competent mid-tempo pop music aimed at the undiscriminating EDM crowd.
Is there any recent trend in pop music more inane than “EDM”? As if the club scene wasn’t already diverse and thriving, some journalist-cum-marketer somewhere coined a term for what basically amounts to a rallying cry for hedonistic, apolitical, over-privileged college kids with no sense of history and a taste for the vanilla. Although electronic music production techniques have a long history pre-dating any intersection with popular musics, the more recent crew of producers make use of electronic gear and DJ dance floor dynamics while remaining utterly trapped inside outmoded forms. As long as cats like Calvin Harris continue to make a fortune, upstart producers will continue to mask the formulaic nature of their productions with the superficial appeal of “new sounds.”
Mastered by Lawrence English of Room40, an artist I very much respect, I was more than a bit disappointed by the cookie-cutter nature of this EP. Tincture will be supporting Baths on an upcoming tour, which might be a rather complementary bill, though there’s nothing on Tryst that convinces me that Tincture can approach the artistry of the headlining act. I find it hard to imagine anyone but teenagers and those with limited knowledge of music history to find these songs at all compelling.
And yet, Tryst is not without its more endearing moments. The eponymous single “Tryst” featuring vocalist Hazel Brown is unsurprisingly the highpoint. As a general rule, this kind of music is better suited to a competent female vocalist than the whiny affected vocals of a male producer (see the aforementioned Calvin Harris). The busy hi-hats give the tune a sense of forward momentum despite being a rather laid-back mid-tempo track, a trick common to trap and other contemporary hip hop styles. Even though the drum sounds are too pre-set for my liking, it suits the material well enough. Earlier single “Similar Circles” is also a relatively strong track, with interesting synth pads, if with similarly silly lyrical content.
The word tryst calls to mind a clandestine meeting between secret lovers, but the word itself harkens back to an Old English word for trust or confidence, as in confidence that you’ll meet me at the agreed upon time and place. This Tryst, sadly, won’t have me coming back.