Rebecca Vasmant ‘With Love, From Glasgow’ LP (Rebecca’s) 4/5

Not surprisingly, given the title, musician, producer, DJ and curator Rebecca Vasmant hails from Glasgow. What is a little more surprising is the nature of this, her debut album. While promoting and touring in over 22 countries constantly over the last 5 years, Vasmant returns to her native city to produce what is a rather compelling and refreshing recording… an emotive, jazzy, almost ambient, reflective album filled with textural and colourful soundscapes.

Vasmant has honed her craft on production projects which feature world-class musicians from the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and more, her talents not only in spinning records, but in composing, producing and performing. And make no mistake, on this evidence her music is a force to be reckoned with. Her compositions sound very personal, and have plenty to say, not just musically, but lyrically too. As the composer says: “They tell stories of life, of the thoughts that exist inside my head. I hope they resonate with those who hear them. The record is a jigsaw that brought us together as a catalyst in forming so many lifelong friendships.”

Right from the off I’m drawn in. The lush, ethereal textures of those gorgeously intertwined horns would be enough on their own. But then the floating, hushed vocals hover enigmatically, creating a wonderful atmosphere. “Timing’s End” combines brassy elegance with mesmeric keys, and the evocative vocals from Nadya Albertsson on “Freefall” are simply stunning. Harry Weir takes on the Pharoah Sanders role on the enigmatic “Jewels of Thought”… no Hum Allah Hum Allah jazz yodelling to be heard here though… just the gentle, breezy, jazzy female vocals mixed among the sax and trumpet solos. If you can picture the kind of music you might hear released on the Tru Thoughts or Ninja Tune labels, you wouldn’t be far off the mark when listening to Emilie Boyd on a modern interpretation of “Autumn Leaves”. The reflective, contemplative “Morning (Mourning)” is an exquisite slice of introspection which I really like. “Pride of Winter” has a lovely, cool, late-night jazz club vibe to it, before moving effortlessly into Brodie Jarie’s groove-fuelled bass riff on “Start of Time”, with its storytelling vocals bordering on something we might expect to hear from Lauren Kinsella aka Snowpoet. “Universal Code” sounds rich with the sounds of the city, and I just love the industrial, edgy feel to the wonderful “Revolution” which appears to bring out all of Glasgow’s darker secrets.

With production values that Nitin Sawhney would be proud of, the combination of intelligent compositions and a whole host of Scotland’s finest musicians makes for a very compelling album. “With Love, From Glasgow” is a crucial insight into the modern-day sounds of a city, with Rebecca Vasmant successfully harnessing all of the gifted natural resources around her, creating an album fuelled with mesmeric, kinetic energy.

Mike Gates