Australian DJ duo Slumberjack may not be a household name right now, but after the release of their new EP Fracture, expect to be hearing a lot of them. Slumberjack members Morgan Then and Fletcher Ehlers are Perth, Australia natives who first met through a local DJ competition. Initially the two planned on working together to create four songs on a project basis. When they realized their styles were distinctly suited for one another, the joined forces permanently under the alias Slumberjack. Both Then and Ehlers, who started collaborating while in college, had to choose between internships and pursuing music. They chose music and haven’t looked back since.
Slumberjack started gaining popularity in 2014 with the release of their self-titled EP. The duo signed with Mad Decent, and with every new track release, their following has steadily grown. Last year Slumberjack received major attention with their Diplo and Friends takeover, and airplay on Australia’s Triple J radio station. More recently, the pair received wide praise for their music video for “Open Fire,” featuring vocalist Daniel Johns.
What is distinctive about how the pair produces is that they each work in the studio alone before closely collaborating in the later stages of production. When asked by Mad Decent to talk about this process, Then said, “Both of us believe that you need to spend that time alone in the studio to really discover what you’re going for. And then when we get together, we end up finding new textures and adding new flavors to that. The reason Slumberjack sounds like Slumberjack is that we’re bringing those two worlds together—either of us alone would never be able to create this sound.”
The duo’s style is certainly distinctive- somewhere between future bass and dubstep. This eclectic combination is something that is hard to pull off, but the duo has done so masterfully in the five tracks of Fracture.
“Afraid, Unafraid” was released a week before the official release of Fracture on April 13. This track quickly gained attention and praise for its masterful juxtaposition of Sydnee Carter’s vocals, the drum, and the high pitched chords. “Afraid, Unafraid” is catchy, and nearly impossible to listen to only once.
Those who prefer heavier drops contrasted with vocals will gravitate toward “Paralyse.” The female vocals weave in and out of the bass seamlessly, making this track radio worthy or suited for the hardest of festival sets.
“Take Me”stands out as the heaviest song in the EP, appealing to bass heads and dubstep lovers alike. The track unapologetically keeps the bass blaring throughout the entire song after a brief intro buildup with KLP’s vocals in the background. Fans can reasonably expect their favorite dubstep artists to start playing this formidable song in their sets to come.
“Cradle to the Grave (Interlude)” starts off at a lower tempo then the first three tracks. A mystical intro with violin in the background leads into a flute solo. The violin then builds up into the bass’s entrance. From here, “Cradle to the Grave” picks up in tempo with heavily synthesized chords piercing in and out of the violin.
“Fracture,” which is the title track of the EP, features vocals by Vera Blue. Blue’s voice carries the track with a drop that is lighter then the rest of the EP (but still not light). This track is heavy enough to appeal to future bass lovers along with progressive house/pop lovers.
From “Take Me” to “Afraid, Unafraid,” Fracture has the versatility to appeal to a wide variety of music lovers. Each track succeeds its own right, reaffirming that Slumberjack is a production force to be taken seriously. The duo are currently on their “The Fracture Tour” where fans can see them play throughout Australia and New Zealand. See below for tour dates, and stay tuned for their 2017 festival performances.
‘THE FRACTURE TOUR’ DATES – Supported by triple j
Fri 21 April / Foundry Bar / Christchurch, NZ
Sat 22 April / Studio the Venue / Auckland, NZ
Fri 19 May / The Triffid / Brisbane
Fri 26 May / The Metro Theatre / Sydney – SOLD OUT
Sat 27 May / Max Watts / Melbourne
Fri 2 June / Villa Nightclub / Perth