A new LP by Ron Trent, a true house hero and one of the most revered producers of the genre, is always highly anticipated, even more so when it’s been eleven years since the previous one. While Raw Footage contained its fair share of seminal tunes, altogether it felt more like a collection of tracks rather than a proper LP per se. What do the stars… on the other hand is a love letter to the long player, designed for deep and repeated listening from start to finish.
The always evolving artist with a legacy of deep house masterpieces like ‘Sweetness’, Sundance' ‘Morning Factory’ or ‘Morning Fever’ (notice a theme here?!) has always kept things fresh and soulful throughout his 30+ year career. No house music per se to be found on What do the stars… but hey, house is a feeling and Trent’s unique themes and moods from those beloved classics are undeniably present here, with each song playing as its own odyssey, like multiple journeys within a journey.
“It’s all about storytelling” says Trent, a Loft baby himself and as such forever grateful to his mentor David Mancuso, adding that the “album is actually within the realm of a Loft-style record.”
The only release under the WARM moniker previously was the ‘Night Ride” 12” from 2019, which notably contained ‘On A Journey’, a mid tempo cinematic odyssey which set the tone for his long-planned side project. What do the stars… is a live electronic album on which Trent plays drums, percussion, keys, synths, piano, guitar and electronics and which he plans to present live on tour in the near future. The overall feel is like a reimagining of the cinematic jazz-funk records that shaped his childhood (Sun Palace often comes to mind), filled with sunny soft pads, plucked bass synths and vintage drum machine. Trent went quite big to fulfil his vision, inviting some of his all time hero Azymuth and Jean-Luc Ponty (Wally Badarou was also meant to feature), as well as Gigi Masin and Khruangbin to collaborate and add their magic touches on the sonic foundations he built for them.
Designed for balmy nights and psychedelic mind trips, between opener ‘Cool Water’ featuring Ivan Conti (Azymuth) and Lars Bartkuhn and closer ‘What do the stars say to you’, we are on cinematic flight mode and travel through multiple highlights. ‘Melt into you’ with Azymuth’s Alex Malheiros is a personal favourite, a magic hour tune with a groove to die for, as is the Jean-Luc Ponty driven ‘Sphere’, a cosmic delight with timeless qualities which lifts you soul to previously unseen places (what a coup!), and the blissfully transcendental liquid soul of 'Flowers’ (featuring Venecia).
Elsewhere Gigi Masin’s delicate and evocative nautical pads shine on 'Admira', while band of the moment Khruangbin make a welcome appearance on the only obvious dance-floor oriented track ‘Flos Potentia’ (Sugar, Cotton, Tabacco), a mesmerising (if slightly too short) late night disco groove which is already doing wonders on the psychedelic dance-floors of Beauty & the Beat and the likes.
As Trent explains, the album “evolved out of the spirit of the third ear audiophile” and to that effect was mastered by no less than François K, a long time collaborator who played his part in turning this glorious journey into a truly audiophile affair. Also as an added bonus, FK did a continuous mix of the album, complete with added effects and all, which is available as a download and makes all the sense in the (cosmic) world.