Vegyn’s status as an in-demand producer (he’s worked with Frank Ocean, Travis Scott and Kali Uchis) makes it hard to believe he’s ever had a second for his own music. But since 2019’s experimental debut EP ‘All Bad Things Have Ended – Your Lunch Included’, he’s squeezed in a further four solo releases, including ‘Text While Driving If You Want to Meet God!’, a 71-track mixtape of 8-bit-inspired glitch sketches from 2019. That same year, the London producer shared his debut album ‘Only Diamonds Cut Diamonds’ with collaborators such as JPEGMAFIA, heralding a shift towards meatier creations.
Now Joe Thornalley is back with his most refined work yet. ‘Like A Good Old Friend’ EP sees him again pluck ideas from deep house, glitch, electronica and ambient rap while crafting tunes that are less transient than his earlier work. Vegyn experienced a bout of depression when he first started writing the EP, but ‘Like A Good Old Friend’ is a bright affair. Some of his melancholic tones can still be heard here but this is a more lucent record that seeks to joyfully unite, rather than disrupt, melody and rhythm.
Lead single ‘I See You Sometimes’ shows off the producer’s skill as a songwriter. Here, east London rapper Jeshi’s despondent monologue (“Concrete streets I stroll / Can’t even breathe, places that I’m in / Expensive lies”) is time-stretched in sync with muted beats and simmering synths that threaten to boil over. Later, Jeshi’s vocals return to a more conventional rhythm, the lyrics “strollin’ through blissful, so unaware / Fireworks paintin’ the air” depicting a happier version of himself, soundtracked by beats that stomp rather than stutter.
On the title track, Vegyn makes strings and lap steel guitar sound like Balearic house, before introducing his signature glitch stylings. The blending of the organic and synthetic adds a warmth to his music; ‘B4 The Computer Crash’, a ‘90s deep house song with a central internet dial-up melody, sounds like a fun nostalgia trip, while the muffled sub-bass on ‘Sometimes I Feel Like I’m Ruining Songs’ evokes that pang of waiting outside a nightclub, desperate to see your favourite DJ. Piano notes chime out over a seemingly endless loop of beats as if the night will never end.
The loops can become too repetitive (see ‘Mushroom Abolitionist’ and the maddening, beat-less fever dream of ‘So Much Time, So Little Time’), but overall Vegyn has made music that burrows deeper than before.
Release date: March 19
Record label: Plz Make It Ruins