With a Grammy already to his name London’s Will Phillips, better know as Tourist, has cemented his name into the musical world and he’s only just released his first album. Phillips stated in an interview “the album is about a relationship I had with a girl for four years; I think we had an argument and I was walking away from my flat to my studio to record some music”, and this is how to album begins, the sound of footsteps walking from his flat to his studio. There are numerous examples of field recordings scattered all over the album which give the electronic/processed sounds a human touch and an organic nature.
The album is largely instrumental in the way that he employs the use of vocal chops and samples instead of a straight ahead vocal feature, even though he has a couple of incredible examples of vocally driven songs outside of this album. With the ending of a relationship being the blanket thematic material for U, I think he deserves a huge pat on the back for conveying all of the diverse and complex emotions that go with a break-up in an instrumental format.
Phillips has previously stated that he pays no attention to genre trends. You can hear this attitude within the diversity of the album. There’s slow moments, there’s euphoric moments, there’s moments that make you want to flip your desk and dance and moments that leave you feeling introspective and nostalgic.
Here are my top three moments:
3. ‘To Have You Back’ features a slow, reflective build up that launches into a head-banging, mouth-watering half time ‘drop’ that leaves you salivating.
2. ‘Seperate Ways’. Vocals that sound like they were sliced by Jamie Oliver himself. A soundscape that locks your full attention and never lets go. One of my favourite songs of the year.
1. ‘Run’. Banger. With mash. Bangers and mash.
U, for me, is cinematic headphone music. It’s dance music, but for the soul, not for when you’re pingin’ across some dank club at 4am. U is a heavily textured and emotive feather in the cap from a man who I hope we see and hear a lot more from.
2016 is set to be massive for Tourist with a massive US/UK tour already underway that includes a brief stop in Australia. If you’re in Sydney or Melbourne you can catch him live in August – find more info on that here