Meanjin/Brisbane-based producer and DJ Joshua Amour continues his ascendant 2022 by today announcing his forthcoming debut EP, I’m Trying, due out November 18 on Astral People Recordings. Alongside the announcement, he also shares latest single and visualiser, ‘In My Mind’, out now.
Carried by an insistent, elastic synth line, ‘In My Mind’ starts somewhere near the lurching, strobe-lit melodicism of Overmono and ends up up as a deep breath of gratitude, resting beneath harmonious, cloud-soft pads, melancholic piano and spry handclaps. It’s yet another example of Amour’s exploratory, loving dedication to all shades of UK dance music - previewed on previous singles ‘Don’t Let Go’ and ‘Do Ya Love’ - as well as the gracious warmth that suffuses his productions.
Warm and organic, acoustically sweet yet processed and peculiarly moveable, I’m Trying is a generous reverie for the summertime, run through with a drowsy-eyed romanticism. Existing in those liminal, indefinable hours where late night melts away to early morning, Amour’s superbly textural debut EP gives shape and sound to those moments of everyday tenderness and clarity.
“I’m Trying is my first attempt at making a proper body of work,” explains Amour. “I wanted it to look and sound like summer. It’s the truest reflection of what I listen to and what I like about electronic music. It’s fun and melancholy and it’s me trying to take my production seriously”.
Across its five tracks, I’m Trying takes in the myriad strands of post-2000 UK dance music, compressing and reflecting these sounds back in an effortlessly sublime amalgam that brims with Amour’s palpable reverence. Stuttering to life with a jittery, 2-step inflected beat, bursts of deflated, synthetic horns and a shifting waterfall of chopped-and-screwed vocal samples, debut single ‘Don’t Let Go’ is Amour’s paean to the wistful, subdued syncopation of early 2010’s post-dubstep artists Mount Kimbie and XXYYXX. The undeniably gorgeous opening title track marries the twinkling, microtonal chimes of Four Tet’s electronica with sunnied yet bittersweet steel drums and a gently syncopated garage beat reminiscent of Jamie xx. ‘Do Ya Love’, with its pitch-shifted, chirpy vocal samples and irregular stabs of piano, leans into the more infectious side of UK Funky and Garage, not too far from something you would expect to hear at the ebullient crest of a Conducta mix.
With I’m Trying, Joshua Amour has crafted a love letter to the artists, communities and relationships that have shaped him. Moving with a dreamlike quality, it takes in everything from his earliest musical influences to the openhearted dance scene in Meanjin/Brisbane that has fostered and matured alongside him, to the limitless discovery potential of the internet, to his childhood friend Genesis Owusu, whom Amour cut his teeth touring with, to his partner dameeeela, whom he can often be found DJing alongside across the city. Throughout, he channels the bliss of finding a space which is uniquely reflective of yourself.
‘In My Mind’ by Joshua Amour
Is out now on Astral People Recordings / [PIAS]