Audio Mixer: Jonny Faith.
Photographer: Christopher Ireland.
Unlike a lot of DJs and producers whose main goal in life seems to be to fill up hard drives and record bins with their collected output, Jonny Faith took a different route. After spending a few years immersing himself in various styles, hosting a radio show, and working on his own style, and after the release of one lone EP in 2011, his debut album, Sundial, finally came out in 2015. Throwing all his dub, hip-hop, techno, and quiet storm influences together and mixing them liberally, Faith comes up with a unified work that flows from gently unspooling ambient soundscapes to shuddering hip-hop beats, from intricate melodic patterns to sundazed mellow jams, all the while displaying a knack for creating a mood that's hard to shake long after the record is over. It's an unprepossessing sound for the most part, sneaking into the heart and mind with a graceful step and not even a little swagger. Faith seems content to lie back and let the music do the talking; he never shows off or gets in the way of the songs. And they are well-constructed, deeply thought-out songs at that, with sharp hooks and easy to swallow and follow structure. With a vocal feature here or a rap there, Sundial could have been a pop chart contender; as it stands, it's more useful as music to help you unwind after a long day, week, or month of being assaulted by the pop life. Tracks like the gently rollicking "Slumber" or the spaced "Dust Settles" are about escaping the grind and shutting down the machines for a short spell. Others have a little more kick, like the almost jaunty "This Love," but never so much that the mood is shaken a single inch. By the time the record comes to a gentle halt, Faith has constructed one of the more impressive chillout records in a long time. Relaxed, but not boring. Stoned, but not meandering. Acid jazz without the acid or the jazz. Sundial is a warm embrace of an album, one that leaves the listener in a better place after having listened. That's hard for well-seasoned, well-traveled artist to pull off; Faith has done it the first time out and that's really an impressive feat. ~ Tim Sendra