Today, Friday November 25, marks the start of a unique new release series from Manchester artist Dub Phizix.
Winter Songbook will roll out for the new four weeks, two tracks a week, culminating in a 45 minute piece of music.
Flowing like a mix but approached much more like an album, Winter Songbook is an extended suite-style concept made with the colder seasons and long dark nights in mind.
Explaining how many of his personal favourite productions were made during autumn, and how he finds it a stimulating time creatively, Dub Phizix has created an introspective exploration laced with dynamic moments of string-surged drama and halftime tension. It’s his most emotional creation so far.
“The tunes have been knocking around for a while,” explains Phizix, AKA George Ovens. “They never fitted with releases I was doing at the time but they all fit together in a concept. For a while I thought it was building up to be an album but it ended up being something a bit different.”
Still yet to write an album (although a Dub Phizix LP is on the agenda, when he feels the time is right) George flipped the current climate for consistent releases into this new concept. He credits fellow deepsmith LSB for the inspiration.
“Everything is very short-form these days,” he states. “I think there’s a place for that, it’s how things are, but I wanted to do something a bit more long form.”
The challenge that faced George was how to go about that. Eventually a Whatsapp chat with a collective of producers that took him on this particular path. “I said no one likes long-form content any more and LSB pointed out the whole culture of binge-watching series and it got me thinking, ‘What makes a series?’” George reflects.
“I’m a fucker for binge-watching series. I sit up all night and watch a whole series. Why do I do it? The thing for me is the cliff hanger. I’ve got to know what happens. So how do you do that with music?”
Gradually the Winter Songbook took form and developed into the project that will enjoy a full release on December 16. “I knew I wanted to do a project where all the tracks join together, I’ve always loved that with albums,” explains Phizix who’s weaved string, choir and guitar lines, motifs and references throughout the eight tracks to create a narrative, flow and a series of eight cliff hangers that leave the listener wanting to hear more.
Not just a novel way of presenting music, but this approach also had a big influence on how he wrote the tracks, too. “The last two thirds of each tune are effectively a different tune and you’ll get the drop, or the pay-off, in the next one,” says Phizix who ended up a giant 150-track Pro-Tools project by the time he’d finished the full Winter Songbook project.
“I’ve never been one to take short cuts,” he admits. “I want to get the most I can out of any project and recently I kinda feel like I’m starting all over again. I know I’m not, but in my head it’s like, ‘What am I doing here? Let’s break this down to the bare bones and see what’s possible.”
Having heard Winter Songbook in the full-length way it’s intended, 1 More Thing can confirm that Dub Phizix has taken his craft to fresh, ice-cold heights with this new concept. Building on the powerful Senka Mixtape collection he rolled out earlier this year, it leaves us wondering what the famous crisp afficionado will drop in 2023.
“There are some things to come,” he hints vaguely. “I feel like I’ve got a new lease of life. This is me finding my feet and seeing where I can take things…”