Save Yourself by SBTRKT (Self-Released)

Elusive British producer SBTRKT quietly released a collection of tracks—not quite long enough to be an album, nor succinct enough to be considered an EP— titled Save Yourself late March. Collaborating heavily with rapper The-Dream, Save Yourself carries in it a buoyancy and hopefulness, tempered by reality and hard knocks, befitting its title.

Save Yourself backs off from the heavy discordance and off-kilter rhythms of Wonder Where We Land, SBTRKT’s previous album. In its place is a tight and elegant production, one that still yields discoveries after every listen, though the tracklist lacks an entirely cohesive sonic scheme.

Breakout track of the collection is Dream-featured “I FEEL YOUR PAIN,” a work of resounding empathy. Dream raps over shimmering, pulsating keys, with a rawness and humanity that would move even the staunchest hip-hop-apostate to tears. And as R&B songstress Mabel croons “This shit, it hurts,” the listener feels for her in the deepest parts of their heart.

Though the vocals of the album do the bulk of the emotional heavy lifting, SBTRKT is still capable of evoking feeling in his voiceless tracks. “READY OR NOT” sparkles with anticipation, the kind one gets before attempting to dazzle a crowd. The following track, “LET THEM IN,” sludges viscous around the listener’s ear, still playing with anticipation, but this time, one more fearful than anything else.

While it isn’t as daring or party-friendly as his previous works, Save Yourself is emotionally resonant music, done well. The songs grab hold of the listener, asking them to trust that the sounds will make them feel in all the right ways.

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