Phon.o (Carsten Aermes) has been around for a few years but has only recently started to gain prominence with releases on the 50 Weapons label in 2011, resulting in his new and third album `Black Boulder'.
Phon.o's sound has changed gradually over the years, and `Black Boulder' is his deepest sounding album to date. Two tracks have vocals (as opposed to others which use vocal samples), contributions from Fabian Fenk on the soulful `Twilight', and Tunde Olaniran on `Leave A Light On'. Phon.o clearly has a fondness for the step-orientated bass grooves which dominates dance music at the moment. Burial seems to be an obvious influence on `Mosquitoes' and `Slavemode', and `Hopelight' goes even closer still and sounds eerily like Zomby. Influences aside, `Black Boulder' has a handful of cracking tracks like the title track, `ABAW 273', and `Yudasi'. Best of all is the superb opener `Nightshifts', melodic xylophonic chimes ebb and flow along to some supple fidgeting drum patterns. Simple but very effective, as is a lot of `Black Boulder'.
As good as this album often is, it too cosily resembles many other recent albums by the likes of SBTRKT, Zomby, Mount Kimbie amongst others. But don't let this stop you listening to a beautifully crafted album, full of warmth and subtlety. `Black Boulder' has crossover potential, this surprisingly infectious album could be another hit for 50 Weapons.