“Good things come to those who wait”, says Matt Harris aka Hyroglifics about the theme of his debut album, ‘I’ll Wait, I Guess’, a personal journey to hope and healing reflected through 16 tracks of ever-evolving music and the stories that lie within them. “I believe that good things happen with time, however, I also wanted this album to depict the realities of waiting for something and how seemingly hopeless it may seem at times”.
After committing to music full time after getting picked up by RBMA for 2016’s Montreal academy, Hyroglifics has released key tracks and EPs on Critical Music, 20/20 LDN, Hooversound, and System. Written and recorded in Bristol before sessions in London and Los Angeles, where he now lives, ‘I’ll Wait, I Guess’ is his most diverse body of work so far. Though led by the detailed drum and bass he’s best known for, the album also includes tracks leaning towards grime, half-time, hip hop, techno and ambient music.
“I really wanted to create something that shows my range as a producer and artist”, Hyroglifics explains. “My taste is always evolving, so it’s hard to pin down a specific ‘sound,’ as I really enjoy exploring the process of trying to create hybrids of genres.”
Throughout all these styles, a binding consistency of sound design and detail is noticeable, about which Hyroglifics says: “I like to put a lot of texture and natural ambiences within a lot of the music I write to give it a more ‘organic’ feel, so I guess growing up in the countryside of the South Downs in the south of the UK influenced this. I also spent a lot of time capturing sounds and ambiences with my field recorder and then using them as either the basis of tracks or organic layers.”
The album’s first single, the minimal D&B sound of ‘Albany Road’, refers to a road opposite to where Harris used to live in Bristol, spending a lot of time playing table tennis as well as at the infamous Star & Garter pub. Both that and ‘Gastown’ were written a few days before the Critical Music mainstage takeover at Boomtown 2022, where Hyroglifics road tested them for the album – luckily they went down well. Ever-evolving producer Yip Wong aka Deft links up on the heavy hitting 150BPM drill influenced bass track ‘Two For Two’ while NW London wordsmith Feux joins on ‘Belief’.
Throughout most of 2020-22, Hyroglifics got into producing for the Blah Records camp and from those connections came a number of collaborations. Rising Manchester rapper Black Josh guests on ‘Air Max Flow’ and ‘Sing To It’ features the vocal prowess of Kenyan rapper and videographer Nah Eeto, who previously worked with Hyroglifics on the successful ‘From Nout’ released on Ivy Lab’s 20/20 LDN imprint.
“I had written a couple of demos with Nah Eeto for the album but this one was definitely the winner. I love working with Vicky in the studio as she’s always open to new ideas and down to work on a variety of styles. Her style is so unique and instantly recognisable”.
The stunning ambient soul track ‘Hotwire’ features distinctive, London-based vocalist Lyza Jane.
“This was originally on a lo-fi hip hop beat but I had to take it to a different level once Lyza put down her vocal”, Hyroglifics says. “I really love how this one came out, I spent a lot of time going in and chopping up lots of different layers to complement her vocals. I feel like this track helps to showcase my ability to write music as opposed to formulaic club bangers. This was also the first track I wrote with my Udo Super 6 synthesiser”.
The album’s final quarter grows ever broader in style with the title track’s experimental tech-step, the buoyant house of ‘Late Ones’ and the percussive techno and vocal glitches of ‘Telfar’. ‘I’ll Wait, I Guess’ closes out with the slow motion funk of ‘Lacklustre’, stretching out malleable component sounds almost to breaking point.