Local Love: George WestGeorge West. Photo: Courtesy of Artist/Facebook
The electronic music world is full of so many layers that it can sometimes be difficult to navigate. While many electronic acts playing here are from somewhere else, it’s always nice to realize that many here in Houston take the genre to a whole new level. That being said, one of the most exciting electronic artists and producers in Houston is George West. While West might be best known for his works with Bang Bangz and other Wonky Power artists, his solo efforts have grown by leaps and bounds since he dropped his first singles a couple of years ago. His mixture of live field recordings and live instrumentation on his debut full length Silverio is something else entirely. After catching his forward set at FPSF in 2015, I realized that West does things differently than most, and this album is definitely different. While the tracks maintain his chillwave vibe, in nine tracks West keeps you wanting more while wondering what will come with each and every knob turn of the APC.
It should be noted that this album has been out since January of this year, though I haven’t gotten to it for review until now. Though for West, who’s been performing more outside of Houston over the past year, my timeline for review doesn’t matter. Though the opening track, “Leon,” is only one minute long, it sets the stage for the tripped out approach that West brings to his music. Lush bass lines and snippets of found sound samples are intertwined with vocal stabs like they’re coming from Miles Davis’ trumpet, which are engaging, but end as quick as they begin. The spacey and airy feels of “One To Start” follows, and brings these bells with more field sound samples and a jam heavy beat to the track. West wastes no time in adding a murky synth, live drums, and multiple electronics to give birth to the life of the track. The musical breaths that the song takes are as fresh as breathing in an unencumbered and pollution free breeze. West keeps things as engaged on the third track, “There Is Always Another Option.” The longest running song of the nine, there’s a subtlety to the song that allows West to add multiple synths, live percussion, and these keys that seem to take the listener to a place far outside of our universe.
By the standout sound of the fourth track, “Here Again,” you should be heavily invested in the world that West creates. The hook heavy song has enough of a groove that you can dance to it, while it’s not so heavy handed that you couldn’t just relax with it in the background after a long day. West keeps the jams going strong on another standout, “El Campo,” where he embodies the likes of Slow Magic and Clark while never he lifts from either. The multiple electronic jabs culminate with these bells that seem to dance in the background, as if they came from a walk in a foreign land. He follows this with the techno inspired sound of “Started,” where there are elements from his travels coupled with this piano that adds to the mystery that the song crafts while it snaps along. West closes the album off with another spacey jam on “You Know.” Full of sumptuous synths and a groove heavy beat, the track reminds me a little of the theme from Portlandia, Washed Out’s “Feel It All Around,” before West adds a vocal track that steers it far away from anything I can remember.
All in all the album is one that everyone needs to hear sooner than later. By forging his own path as an artist and producer, George West defines the notion of going your own way. The album is available on all formats, though you can grab a copy of the limited edition vinyl version when George West performs tonight at The Red Light At Springbok. The all ages show with Austin’s Sphynx has doors at 8 pm and a TBA cover.