After hearing the single “Pressure,” I knew Until The Ribbon Breaks was onto something special. Until The Ribbon Breaks is the moniker for the UK-based R&B-meets-electronic singer and producer Pete Lawrie Winfield. It’s hard to find artists to compare him to, but if I was forced to, I would pick names like James Blake, Jamie Woon, or Fryars. While originally sucked in by the breathy, stark, often-layered vocals of Winfield, I’ve since fallen hard for the complete spectrum of Winfield’s talents, which includes a strong mastery of production.
Today marks the release of the debut EP for Winfield as Until The Ribbon Breaks; A Taste of Silver is a 5-track EP containing tracks called “2025,” “Perspective (ft. Homeboy Sandman),” “Romeo,” “Pressure,” and “Back To The Stars.” After a handful of full listens, “Pressure” remains the highlight for me of the artist’s debut EP, but the compilation as a whole is breathtaking. Another standout track for me was third track “Romeo.” A quiet song that starts with some highly-produced clips of vocals and instrumentals and then funnels into Until The Ribbon Breaks’s whispery and dual-toned vocals, the song maintains an element of intrigue throughout. UTRB mastered the mysterious storytelling vibe and alluring vocal patterns in a way I hear few others doing today. Somehow if my mind wandered in an attempt to relate Winfield’s stories to my own world, the focal point remains Winfield’s music when he sings “You see I would have killed Romeo/ And saved Juliet/ But I don’t write stories/ That time wont forget/ So wont you pass me the kerosene/ Let’s burn to the ground/ You’ve been looking for meaning/ Did you like what you found?” I’m hooked on those words.
A major drawing point for me is that Until The Ribbon Breaks has a way of taking a song from one sound and turning it into something completely different unexpectedly. It’s a beautiful act that you can hear best in the first minute of “Pressure.” In the same song, UTRB takes a heavy bass and drum machine patterns to the track, and also slides into a sweet sound of semi-muted piano paired with his hushed vocals singing “maybe in another life/ maybe in another life/ if we get another life/ maybe in that life/ I could learn to love you.” The change-ups are both shocking and comforting, particularly when you come full circle to the softer sections.
Throughout this EP, Until The Ribbon Breaks manages to flex both his vocal and production muscles, but while I first paid most attention to the sexy vocals of Until The Ribbon Breaks until this point, it’s worth paying close attention to the genius behind Winfield’s music production. Listen closely on tracks like “Romeo” and “Pressure” — there is a stunning blend of electronic noises, raw drum builds, and simple piano melodies that marry the vocals perfectly. The one downfall for me, and where my attention wandered the most during my listens, was on the second track, “Perspective.” To me, this track didn’t fit in with the rest of the collection. I appreciated that Homeboy Sandman was featured on the track, particularly as it seems the two artists have strong opinions on the cultural state of the world and have expressed them through their music, but the sonic qualities of “Perspective” just didn’t fall in line with the beauty of the rest of the EP for me.
And what’s most, for me, is the path the short EP takes. It starts with “2025,” which is a dark track focusing on societal misfortunes, opening with the lyrics “I was born with my back to the stars,” but shedding light on human pretension, loneliness as the new normal, and even online dating. It winds through Winfield’s mind and stories, and ends with “Back To The Stars” which also starts with the lyrics “I was born with my back to the stars,” but this time around Winfield tells of another who has touched him so, by singing “and you, what have you done for me?/ you’ve opened up my eyes/ you’ve opened up my eyes.” Without knowing much of a backstory, it leads me to imagine that it’s an uplifting tale of a man at his lows who finds love in a dark place. In an age where it’s hard to listen to a compilation from front to back and feel any sort of completeness or satisfaction, Until The Ribbon Breaks has brought back a mysterious storytelling component to not just songwriting, but album-writing (or in this instance, EP-writing). Something tells me this is just the beginning of a long and healthy career for Winfield as Until The Ribbon Breaks. With an incredible release of A Taste of Silver and tour dates with rising star Lorde, the future is bright for this artist.
Rap is a constantly evolving genre. Even the most traditional artists take risks in delivery, flow, and beat selection; that’s part of what makes the music so consistently interesting and fun and influential. The following songs are not the strangest rap songs out there, but each one features some sort of “abnormality.” Of course, these abnormalities could one day be the norm, and that’s horrifying.
But also incredibly exciting.
- F. Stokes – Madison West High School
- Star Slinger – Ladies in the Back (ft. Teki Latex)
- Acmatic – Make Her Jump
- Flume – On Top (ft. T.Shirt)
- Flux Pavilion – Do or Die (ft. Childish Gambino)
- Dominic Lord – Never and Never (Prod. by Hudson Mohawke)
- K.Flay – Another Round
- Kendall Elijah – Sittin’ (Cover)
- Ab-Soul x JMSN – You’re Gone
- Blood Diamonds – Barcode (ft. Dominic Lord)
- Euro League – Social Network (ft. Denzil Porter)
- Evil Nine – The Black Brad Pitt (ft. Danny Brown) (Deebs Remix)
- Iron Mics x Tonio – T W A (Till We Arrive)
- MeLo-X – GOD MAGIC
- Homeboy Sandman – Illuminati
Related: 10 Weird Rap Songs (Pt. 1)
In the modern digital era we inhabit today, there are so many things going on all the time. It’s frustrating, and it’s something that affects everyone and everything–the clutter, the screens, the unanswered messages, the tweets. I think if you told God about Twitter he’d be kinda pissed, like “What the fuck is a tweet? I made you people, so you can talk to other people with your mouths!” I just think life will be difficult no matter what; why should we make it more difficult? Think about the years that could be added to your life if you stopped worrying about a girl not texting you back (after you saw the “…” of her typing) or not getting a satisfactory amount of retweets on some shit you probably should not have put on the Internet forever (hypothetical situations, of course). But really, this mixtape probably has nothing to do with what I’m saying, but it’s something I felt like I had to say.
The cover was created using a lot of pictures and edited to form a simple heart. The title is inspired by a Gomez song from back in the day.
- Darwin Deez – Chelsea’s Hotel
- The Spinto Band – Shake It Off
- Bangladesh – Lean
- Lowrider – Golden Sun
- Eden Mulholland – I Will Echo
- French Horn Rebellion – Girls (ft. JD Samson and Fat Tony)
- Darwin Deez – Redshift
- Fyfe – St. Tropez
- Dan Croll – Compliment Your Soul
- Born Ruffians – Needle
- Slow Dakota – June 4
- Homeboy Sandman – Hold Your Head
- Stroik – One More Time
- Magic Man – Paris
- MISTERWIVES – Vagabond
- Good Oak – Fill My Cup
- Whisky Winter – Heavy
‘Cause I’m not leaving, this is just the place, I’ve been homeless since the dimples on her simple face , and I’ve spent my fortune, torn this town apart to build a hotel on her heart