Circle of Life
The Journey East is the latest EP from Josh Teed, spinning a mix of heady bass tracks and experimental collaborations. Across the album, Teed really leans into both Asian and Middle East influences – much to the benefit of this album. With a variety of different instruments and some distinctly different tones used across the seven tracks, The Journey East is a tightly mixed compilation.
Fittingly, the EP opens with ‘Silk Road’, which eases into the vibes of the album to follow. The tempo is much slower here and the distinct bass works well against the chords.
The next track, ‘Crescent Bounce’, completely switches things up and leans into rapping against a minimalistic but interesting oud (a guitar used a lot in Arabic music.)
‘Vibration’ uses some fascinating soundscapes and echoing female vocals to mix things up, serving as a stop-gap for the second half of the album to follow. Here, ‘Introspection’, ‘Steady Steppin’ and ‘Circle of Life’ use similar track structures to one another, helping the synth to stand out on each of the tracks. You really do get an Eastern flavour bleeding through with each of these songs, while the bass cutting back in from time to time helps to keep everything tied to one genre.
‘Alive’ then closes the album by taking things further east, with a song that wouldn’t be amiss on the excellent Ghost of Tsushima soundtrack. There’s a distinct Japanese feel to this, with a simple vocal working to accentuate the koto (the national instrument of Japan.) It’s a nice way to close the album out and one that tells a concise musical story across its 7 tracks.
Whether intentional or not, The Journey East feels like a concept album, with each of the songs showcasing a different sonic across the wide breadth of Eastern Europe and Asia. It’s a pretty clever way of showing both compositional skills in the studio and a desire to conceptualize the album’s name.
The Journey East is a solid EP and if you’re a fan of bass and/or chill-hop, you should find enough to like here. The concept is solid, the mixing tight and the wide variety of instruments keep things sonically interesting. This one is well worth a listen.
Verdict - 8/10