Review: Tourist - 'U'


It is not one bit surprising that London producer Tourist is fast becoming one of the many new faces of electronic music. People need to adventure a little, gain a fresher perspective on things, and, open themselves up. The Grammy award winning artist (for his work on Sam Smith’s - Stay With Me) is already seeing a breakout year. Through the release of hits Run & To Have You Back, Tourist has only given us a mere glimpse into his expression of music. If understood, U is an experience that music often completely forgets.

On U Tourist says, “This is an album that reflects on a relationship I had with someone. I called it U as the word “You” looks a bit accusatory, and the tone of this album certainly isn’t bitter, U is a shape that is balanced but also incomplete, I thought it was a nice visual metaphor for a failed relationship." Title track U is exactly that, opening with this almost Deadmau5 sounding ambient synth, combined with (what sounds like) sampling from the rustle and bustle of moving on in life.

The album then transgress’ into the hits that gave Tourist his name - To Have You Back & Run. Tourist describes To Have You Back as this confusing tug of war and Run as the chase and excitement of falling in love with someone. Having the artist let you in something they have worked so hard on, and explaining its meaning is so damn pleasing - it makes enjoying the record all the more profound.

We then echo into Wait, which from both the title and sound design feel a lot like waiting for the unknown. The unknown in Wait transpires from the heartwarming piano piece combine with low end rumbling from the tracks bass. The album’s midpoint is the upbeat My Love (Interlude), which is undoubtedly those ‘feel good’ moments associated with being in relationship.

The album then sees a shift, with Waves, which feels a really good fit being the 6th track on the album. Waves is this progression, (like a ride almost) which Tourist is going through. The sound design emits to this struggle of riding the troubles of not knowing, all whilst letting it all out. Yes Waves is that point in the relationship where trouble beckons, but, it so damn satisfying to hear, ride and feel its emotions. Tourist then gives us Too Late, which from the constant vocal loop of “too late” and proggy bassline - is a message easily understood. From Too Late, we then head into Foolish, which feels like an organised electronic mess. Perhaps Foolish is the bombardment of realisation, but, from a sound design perspective, Foolish is one crafty piece of electronic music.

Getting to the pointy end of U, Seperate Ways is the second last track from the debut. From the garage beat to the ambient synth, behind To Have You Back & Run, Separate Ways is easily the next best track to groove out too. The final track from U, is titled - For Sarah. Now, perhaps i am just a sucker for seeking emotion through music, but this track, WOW. If i had to pick a favourite from the record, For Sarah takes the cake. Each listen draws different feeling. From sadness to happiness, to the heartwarming good of knowing how good it was - again, how can you not love how music makes you feel sometimes. For Sarah is an emotional ride, that even though is undoubtedly dedicated to an ex, was made to ponder by all.

Going through the paces of U, from its tracklist to the sound design of each of the 10 tracks - Tourist has done one mighty fine job in emitting a journey through electronic music. Usually when an artist gives you insight into a journey or experience such as a relationship, it’s about heartbreak or payback, but, U is completely different. Sure it holds those elements, but, it feels like Tourist sees this experience as a reflection that has shaped him.

Read our interview with Tourist here.