The “Grey Skies” EP showcases the musically voracious approach that characterizes The Love Theme’s approach towards his craft. Samples and stems get remolded and twisted into the heart wrenching and mid-boggling soundscapes. Such unexpected sleights of hand as which can be seen on the tracks in this collection, reveal a man intent on challenging the self-reflexivity of hip hop and urban themes. The Love Theme’s vintage, nostalgia-ridden sample choices, serve as a reminder that the best music always comes from thinking outside the box. But that shouldn’t surprise us as Dominic Owen aka The Love Theme is a rare breed of genius and this EP reveals penetrating new perspectives on his artistry.
The Love Theme has the ability to use samples in order to purposefully grow a song into an anthem, but not being respectful to the source material he never pushes that far. Taking material from American soul, jazz, blues, and mixing it to create unique beats isn’t anything new, but the way The Love Theme handles it is carefully planned and very respectful of the context of the source material.
Though obviously infused with banging urban beats and electronic wizardry, the tracks seem to retain the retro feel of its dominating vocal samples. This is especially evident on “Tomorrow” sampled from the classic “Reach For Tomorrow” made famous by Ella Fitzgerald. The song loses none of its original poignancy, notwithstanding the fact it rides on an insistently percussive underbelly.
“Moonray” is another impressive mix. I’m not sure which version of the song The Love Theme sampled this from, but the original version had its first release in 1939 by Artie Shaw & His Orchestra with vocal refrain ( which today would be the hook!) by Helen Forrest. The Love Theme has beautifully revamped and rejuvenated this track into a modern-day chill-hop classic. But this can be said of all 5 tracks on the EP.
The “Grey Skies” EP is revolutionary mood music with an elegant vintage soul and jazz edge and is infused by those inky and silky smooth vocal samples. There are no false notes here and a nice blend of organic and generated sound in the instrumental layers. The Love Theme’s wholly unusual and hauntingly beautiful electronic renditions are by turns intense and authentic and every song stirs a welter of feelings.
The mixing on this EP is also incredible. Not one inch of the audio spectrum is unused – sounds are coming from each and every direction and all are perfectly synced and mixed. There aren’t too many words that can describe this music, but riding The Love Theme’s musical vision is like scaling a steamy romantic rollercoaster.
“Grey Skies” is deep, powerful, groovy and very nostalgic. The only problem with it is that it doesn’t go on forever…