Rob Sullivan – Traditionalist

Traditionalist is the semi-ironic title of local percussionist Rob ‘Sully’ Sullivan’s debut LP, in the sense that, while its ear seems to be tuned to traditional jazz, its sights are looking forward rather than back.

By Graeme Smith

The 13-track ambient trip is a meld of meandering melodies over mixed pace drums. Opening track Genesis sets the scene with samples from Apollo 8’s radio chatter, which bluntly defines the past as future theme that runs through the album. First Measures follows, bleak with a heart monitor sample that implies the end of life. Sully’s snare comes and goes, sustaining that life through almost six minutes. You get lost in the struggle. The Club, as the name suggests, is more along the lines of a breakbeat dancehall killer. Tinkling keys and soulful vocals invoke the 90’s dance phenomenon.

Jail Trip borders on witch house, FDA Will Pay introduces hip-hop and rap, and perhaps the only drawback of Sully’s mix of genres is that those who put the album on to fulfil a single mood or create a certain atmosphere may be left disappointed. For those who want to stretch their musical perceptions though, Traditionalist is just the ticket.

For a city that is perhaps best known for its folk, acoustic and rock scene, we are York Calling are always fans of local artists who are bringing something new to the mix. And, while Sully’s inspirations are writ large across Traditionalist, it is certainly something that forges bold new ground, at least in our humble part of Yorkshire, and that should be celebrated.

Traditionalist by Rob ‘Sully’ Sullivan is available now on SoundCloud