The underground Chicago juke movement infiltrated bass music in a major way in 2011 and Travis Stewart embraced it head on with Room(s), one of the year’s most beautiful records. The drum programming is perfectly complex, the vocal manipulation and sampling gorgeous and there's atmosphere in spades.
Like Rustie’s record this year, Stewart also happily tips his hat to the ‘rave’ as well as to classic jungle and pop music, melding his passion for classic dance with juke rhythms to create something entirely new. There’s completely awesome and bugged out moments like She Died There which manipulates its vocal sample over subtle dub and psychedelia making for an off-kilter yet entrancing welcome to the world of Room(s).
Stewart also shows incredible restraint, with tunes building layers slowly and delicately underneath its rapid fire percussion. Sometimes he lets the vibes swarm, like midnight ode Lay Me Down or the almost beatless and sweeping album closer Where Did We Go Wrong.
So confident is Room(s) that Stewart is comfortable introducing ideas, only to develop them to the point of euphoria and then disappear completely to be replaced by entirely new motifs; check how the rave piano of Come1 travels into the majestic guitar laden outro that then lifts the tune into the ether. Room(s) is absolutely perfect and as much geared towards moving your feet as it is towards pasting an ear-to-ear grin of pure bliss across your stunned visage.