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Ross From Friends: 'Family Portrait' Album Review

Lo-fi house DJs occupy a nostalgic space in which hip-hop influences, heartfelt lyrical sampling, relentless kick drums and woozy synths blend together to infiltrate a large proportion of the not-so-underground, Internet age dance music scene. Amongst them is Felix Clary Weatherall (Ross From Friends), a British DJ who released ‘Family Portrait’ on July 28th speaks to a deeply personal influence- his parents, who found their commonality in the dance music of the 1990s. Released under Flying Lotus’s label Brainfeeder, the album is intently focused and produced with meticulous detailing, in which we feel Weatherall’s sentiments of trying ‘to be careful with every single sound’, each moment as carefully crafted as the next.

Project Cybersyn’ stands out as the most thoughtful track on the album, encompassing a few new directions towards IDM while staying on track with hazy overtones. The title track ‘Family Portrait’ marries homely 80's synths and steady rhythms into a pleasant and short piece. ‘Pale Blue Dot’, one of the most memorable tracks on the album, perhaps a homage to the famous 1990 Voyager 1 photograph of the earth that has coined the same name, has moments allowing us to reflect on the universe and lo-fi house’s place within it, flowing nicely to the sci-fi track ‘Back Into Space’, the ambient glittering lullaby which nods to Kyle Dixon’s ‘Stranger Things’ soundtrack.

The addictive ‘Don’t Wake Dad’, released previously on the Aphelion EP, combines VHS melancholia, blues guitar with beats and breaks, and a chorus of harmonic twittering birds. This may not be a breakthrough for Weatherall, but it is certainly raw, and for any fans of lo-fi house, this twinkling album is something for you to get your teeth into.

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