Howie B has been narrowing the techno-soul divide since the early ‘90s. A key player in the ‘90s trip hop scene and frequent collaborator with acts as diverse as Soul II Soul, Björk, and U2, Howie B’s touch can be dark and dreamy or loud or funky depending on the track at hand. Whatever the source material, Howie (Bernstein) has infused his productions with nuance and density, bringing out the more human side of machine made sounds for a couple of decades now.
Down with the Dawn, out April 7 on his own HB Recordings, features the Virgin Prunes’ Gavin Friday, and engineer/mixer Joe Hirst (whose credits include Bloc Party, Porthishead’s Beth Gibbons) as well as Italian musicians Riccardo Tesio and Gianni Maroccolo, but it is clearly a very a Howie B production. It includes more “danceable” tracks like “Frankie’s City” and “Run Always” where the dub/breakbeat artist flirts with acid house and techno, but it also features silly fun like a processed child’s instrument on “Kazoo” and dramatic orchestral strings in “Authentication”. It also includes many introspective and warmer moments, as with the title track, “Down with the Dawn” the video for which is premiering exclusively on Vibe today.
For the video, Howie worked with British animator Run Wrake. Wrake, whose own credits include ads for Adidas and MTV, as well music video and visuals for bands like U2, sadly passed away at the end of 2012. “Down with the Dawn” was the last video he worked on. “This film was made by Run after he was diagnosed with lung cancer. It shows the tumours and how they took hold and eventually take his life. It’s the tragic beauty of our life here on earth,” Howie B explains. One can easily understand how its close to Howie’s heart and the emotional center of an ambitious, mature, and deeply personal album by one of electronic music’s most soulful and adventurous artists.
Down with Dawn is out April 7 on HB Recordings. For more info: http://www.howieb.com/