by Ben Hogwood
What’s the story?
Martin Buttrich is known primarily for the ability to deliver a dancefloor belter, whether in a solo capacity for labels such as Planet E, Cocoon, Poker Flat and Four:Twenty, or in collaboration with fellow producers such as Timo Maas and Loco Dice.
His new alias Stoned Autopilot might come as a surprise, then, for fans of the Los Angeles-based producer. Under its umbrella he casts the net wider, including firm nods towards jazz and chill out music, all the while making an album that hangs together as a single structure just as well as it does at being a collection of 13 tracks.
What’s the music like?
Both assured and extremely listenable. Buttrich has clearly honed his craft in the down tempo area, and these productions show an original thought process and a really impressive mastery of the sounds and textures at his disposal.
On occasion you can feel the warm Californian climate coming through – it does so immediately in the dreamy June, Flawless and the dappled light evoked through Sun Of Sunshine, and also Purple Jack which makes a strong impression later in the album.
Other productions are more cinematic, and on the superb Ending For Us, Buttrich uses descriptive cello lines and vocals to make a track full of character. Better Days draws out a leading piano line to really good effect, while Jazzalude really enjoys its percussive excursions and freedom over a longer structure.
Perhaps most importantly, Light Vessel Automatic doesn’t take itself too seriously, and through the album you get touches of humour, irreverence and a lighter mood that makes Buttrich’s music work on several levels. Lighter tracks such as Indecisive breeze past attractively, needing little effort but maintaining the warm temperature.
Does it all work?
It does – a really rewarding mixture of serious and lighter tracks brought together as a convincing chill out album. It works just as well in the foreground as it does in the background.
Is it recommended?
It is, a really enjoyable album proving Martin Buttrich’s versatility as a producer, and his refusal to play along with established formulas. Well worth getting!
You can buy this release from the Juno website