Having been overwhelmed recently by all the new music around me to the point of not being sure in which direction to go, I decided to start buying singles for the purposes of DJing again. This coincided with the fortune of receiving Nitin Sawhney’s latest album, Dystopian Dream, and a ticket to the London tour date. A plan seemed to formulate. As has often been the case, I wanted to build a mix around one tune; branching out of the vibe and textures I hear, and hope to hear in other tracks. I can get a bit obsessed with this one foundation track, and have been rinsing ‘Keep The Light On’ at home, in the car, in the van, at every opportunity. Some of Joss Stone’s material I have not been so swept into. I mean, I have a kind of inherent knowingness of how gifted a vocalist she is, but never has a subgenre such as Sawhney’s (folktronica jungle?) met – and lit – such a vocal match as in this release. To my ears at least. And I mean this literally (I’ve not heard all of Stone’s output as a featured artist); but also in that I have never heard such a mesmerisingly beautiful combination of vocals and electronic production. There were times in the past when I would have offered up the likes of Hybrid as a contender in this prize, and certainly Massive Attack collaborations. E-Z Rollers perhaps even more so, as their bpm’s were up at the same level as Nitin Sawhney’s. With the tour taking the main shape of the album but with the live band also playing classics, it was a huge treat to see the comfort they all displayed on stage. Joss Stone wasn’t at Heaven, but ‘Keep The Light On’ was, and Rahel Debeb-Dessalegne pulled it off very well.
The closest comparison to this tune might be the work of 4Hero, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a point of reference there for all the artists in both projects. When Stone’s voice brings the Devon beach to Sawhney’s Indian Sea, there are fireworks all along the coast. And with the urban city vibe already premixed, with a dense but also subtle drum and bass drum track, Sawhney fans are sure to be stoked with this release.