They may only be two little letters, but the title DJ (or rather lack of it) when it comes to Kormac and his studio work is a crucial one. Always as much a musician as a player of other people’s records, his move from the cut and paste sampling approach of debut album Word Play to his all singing, all dancing Big Band – en route taking in his AV show – indicates an artist with a genuine vision. Doorsteps backs up that theory and then some, a record that will surely emerge as one of the most inventive releases this year.
This time the approach has shifted to a collection of guest vocalists performing against a backdrop that mixes live and sampled sounds. The guest list is varied, from Speech Debelle and Micah P Hinson to Irvine Welsh and Vyvienne Long, the mood of the record shifting accordingly. Hip-hop is clearly a major influence but Kormac never lets himself be painted into a corner, equally as happy providing a subtle soundtrack to Welsh’s lecture on modern life and a quiet / loud / quiet dynamic for Long’s ‘Drown Me’ as he is a cheery big beat riff on ‘Superhero’.
The album stands out, however, due to Kormac’s masterful use of the resources at his disposal. When lovely opener ‘Wake Up’ breaks down midway through, the last thing you might expect to hear is a tuba yet that’s just what you get and, what’s more, it sounds completely natural. Those brass flourishes throughout give Doorsteps an energy and life all of its own, driven by the perfect combination of humans and machines. Clever enough to sound dumb in parts, the record builds layer upon layer – with each listen revealing a new dimension. A traditional DJ he may not be, Kormac nevertheless is a superstar in the making.