Dusted Reviews

John Roberts - Paper Frames

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: John Roberts

Album: Paper Frames

Label: Dial

Review date: Nov. 14, 2012

John Roberts scored a nice little coup with his debut album Glass Eights, on Hamburgís Dial Records, a label known for these things. The Ohio-born, Berlin-based producer has developed even more control over his sound on the Paper Frames EP, which comes at the end of a two-year silence. His debut albumís deep house had a pronounced chamber-music undercurrent on tracks like "Pruned," and that autumnal vibe comes even more to the fore on Paper Frames.

Roberts is a masterful sampler, and Paper Frames is elegantly constructed out of roughly quarried vinyl, from the chunky drum kits at the base to the finer masonry of the melodic passages above. On paper, it sounds like a grotesque collaboration between Moodymann and Hauschka, but Robertsís splices feel natural. Heís both more starry-eyed and more rhythmically potent on "Paper Frames" and "Crushing Shells," the two dance cuts here. The EP is rounded out by a couple of decorative, beatless and nameless interludes, in spite of which the EP feels brief.

Thatís also partly due to the EPís stop-and-start dynamics. "Paper Frames" is a desultory whirlpool of chimes, piano, and other tinkling noises until a highly motivated beat snaps the track out of its daze to a pistoning 130 BPM. "Crushing Shells" is dreamier still, but also enjoys an unusual amount of downtime for dance music. Impressionist daubs of melody ó in the vein of Susumu Yokota but lacking his gooey sentiment ó circulate around a warm, softly bowed cello bassline and sounds that would be precious if they werenít counterbalanced by a surefooted beat. And then itís rather abruptly over.

Roberts hasnít reinvented his sound at all with Paper Frames, and thatís a good thing considering how well Glass Eights holds up. Even as he masters his materials, the newly convulsive and punchy John Roberts is still deftly avoiding both the obvious and subtle pitfalls of reconciling two sounds usually kept well apart.

By Brandon Bussolini

Other Reviews of John Roberts

Glass Eights

Read More

View all articles by Brandon Bussolini

Find out more about Dial

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.