Review | Francis Harris | Minutes of Sleep

Francis Harris

house \haus \ n + chill•out \ chil-aût \ v

Brooklyn producer Francis Harris may have concluded a chapter in his respectable underground production career by retiring his Adultnapper alias, but that's not to say the deep and often jazzy sentiment he imbues his productions with has disappeared with it. In many ways, Harris' decision to record solely by his birth name and shift the dominant aesthetic of his work has given the moods that underpin his music more room to breathe. This is no more true than on the latest LP for his Scissor & Thread imprint, Minutes of Sleep. 

Letting his sound mature with age and experience—this record and his last, Leland, are well documented as having been dedicated to the loss of his parents—the new Harris is at a surface level a more melancholy one, but time spent with the moonlit synth glow and whispering cello of tracks like "Radiofreeze" reveal a much richer, more beautiful side to the producer. No longer beholden to the thump and grind of composing for a dance floor, Harris has found new creative ground to explore—and more fulfilling ground at that.

The snap, crackle, and pop of techno hasn't vanished altogether, it's just faded with age, as on "What She Had" or "Lean Back," where delicate drum patterns frame up dramatic slaps of jazz piano, muted runs on the trumpet, and billows of smokey ambience. When more forcefully asserting its presence, crisp claps set a pace for the free-flowing double bass work of "Me to Drift." Elsewhere, it takes a quiets altogether, letting static drones and vocal incantations simmer as they do across "Blues News." 

The best moment, unsurprisingly, is where all these elements find harmony. With "You Can Always Leave," Harris has found this sweet spot, blending a lurching kit with a steady, padded thump. Trumpets and synth warmth texture the track, laying down a silken cushion for layered vocals that conjure some cross between Bjork and Billie Holiday. A slow burner of the highest order, it's a song like this one that remind that Adultnapper is far from gone, he's just moving on.

Joshua P. Ferguson

PREVIEW | Francis Harris Minutes of Sleep (You can also stream the record in full at THUMP now)


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