Last year’s Mercury nod might have seen his name splashed across the tabloids and beyond but for William Doyle, electronic music has always been about the man behind the machine. While producers like SBTRKT have forged careers out of wilful anonymity and obfuscation, on his first release Doyle did the diametric opposite: setting out his stall as an honest-to-goodness songwriter with thoughts and feelings beyond the tribulations of finding the pitch-perfect synth patch in the bowels of Ableton Live.

One year on and Doyle has again plonked himself front-and-centre. Another portrait of the London-based 23 year-old graces the cover of ‘Culture of Volume’ – named after a snippet of verse from contemporary poet Rick Holland – and songs have names like ‘Don’t Look Backwards’ and ‘Hearts That Never’. The thing is, Doyle’s music (now a little more accessible) has never been especially intimate or personal and there’s no change here either; his soaring, lovelorn couplets invariably find themselves juxtaposed against slightly naff, festival-ready beats. In fact, the irony is Doyle actually sounds far more arresting when he’s emancipated from the strictures of rhythm and vocals, as on bookending tracks ‘The Juddering’ and ‘Montage Resolution’ with their undulating sheets of crystalline synth, and throughout the towering coda to ‘Carousel’ as it collapses in on itself. It’ll be interesting to hear how he squares the circle next time.


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