Continuing to operate within his modus operandi of creating engaging, subtle soundscapes embellished with deeply personal lyricism exploring the nature of self, Pertelli Purple has teamed up with lofi master-of-the-buttons Ile Flottante for his debut LP. The project, which has found a fitting home on Yogocop Records, is definitely a continuation of the sonic sphere that Perts has been occupying for years but less treading the same ground and more crystallising his unique style into a seminal, finely distilled form.
The longer project allows for more sprawling lyrical exploration and likewise more nuanced tonal transitions underpinning the journey. Gone Trying benefits from the man in purple at his best with a clearly shared vision for the sound executed by Flottante. New facets of song construction include frequent inclusion of softly played live guitar sounds (probably sampled but with the sound of a live session), vocalist Jordan Nathaniel on hooks and loose MPC pad beats courtesy of the titular producer. These additions to Pertrelli’s preferred territory of low-key, warm synths and samples phasing in and out over dusty beats, makes for something that sounds like his most accomplished work to date.
Sparing in terms of features, bar the spots where Jordan Nathaniel adds some extra James Blake-esque melancholy to the melody and guest bars from Yogocop mainstays Benaddict and NuphZed (both of whom have dropped exceptional projects on the label this year), Gone Trying is predominantly a quiet place for Perts to speak his personal truth in. The final product would probably have suffered if many more voices had been added in to the mix. With few MCs capable of matching the specific tone of the project, any extra additions might have been jarring interruptions into the considered whole that the producer x MC duo have built here. Immersive sounds flow seamlessly from one to the next, flooded with often disparaging lyrical epiphanies that sound like they were written around 3am in some dimly lit purple hued room. It works.
It’s not all lofi softness though, just as the project nears its end, Pertrelli lays down the reminder that he’s more than capable of killing harder flows if he feels like it on ‘Agnes’. Without fully departing from the lofi zone, this quasi-banger features the lyricist with growling punches in full effect. I’d definitely be happy to listen to multiple Pertrelli Purple albums that solely focused on quiet introspection, but hearing him on the rare occasions where he takes the gloves off on tracks like ‘Agnes’ (see also ‘(K)new‘), does make me think it would be exciting to hear him drop a project that featured him going fully in over heavier beats.
Following on, final track ‘Speak to Me’ maintains the harder edge to the vocal delivery while partially returning to the instrumental tonality of the rest of the LP. This choice of creating a vocal crescendo at the end of the album after 8 tracks of comparative calm has the effect of putting the listener into a trance for most of the duration and then shaking them awake at the end. Typically this seems like turning a conventional approach to track listing on its head but only adds to the uniqueness of the overall Gone Trying experience.
Pertrelli Purple is never going to be for everybody. Even within the niche bracket of underground UK hip hop, he’s consistently made music in defiance of the easy route to get the most heads nodding. But this is a guy who wears sandals in the snow (possibly the only guy) and makes music for himself. As far as I’m concerned at least, that’s the definition of an artist worth paying attention to.
Gone Trying is out now and (obviously) available on limited edition purple vinyl. Cop it HERE!
We’ll be including a couple tracks from the project in the next injection of tunes to our new regular Spotify playlist IYDK: The UK Hip Hop List. Follow us for frequently updated essential heaters below!