English producer Tourist just released his latest impressive effort, an ethereal and introspective 10 track album Inside Out — and it’s everything we’d hoped for and more.
Revered ambient and indie electronic producer Tourist, real name William Phillips, today debuts his fourth studio album, Inside Out, via Monday Records. The carefully crafted forty-one minute release is both cathartic and electrifying, breathing vibrancy and stirring emotions throughout – something I’ve come to count on the London-based producer for over the course of his long-form releases.
Inside Out opens with the seven-minute tune, “Speak In Symphony“, with its evolving melodies and vocal chops fluttering over weighty percussion and bass. It’s the kind of track that conjures the fond memories with peculiar specificity – in the same way the 2020 single “Last” and the explosive standout “Elixir” from Phillips’ 2019 release Wild have done for me the past two-plus years.
The album dives deeper into dance territory with the thumping singles “Your Love” and “Avalanche” that follow. Tied together by a sample serendipitously discovered on holiday, Phillips explains, “I started writing ‘Avalanche‘ on the Isle of Skye whilst on a trip with my wife. Initially – it was a very glacial ambient piece, just synth arpeggios and pads. I was looking out over the sea whilst working on it, it was a deeply moving place to write music. I found an acapella of Ellie Goulding’s on my laptop and I heard this phrase which sounded like ‘Hold Me’. I loved how haunting that was.”
Pushing the arpeggiators and syncopated mix of electronic elements, he continues, “My instinct on previous albums might have been to leave it ethereal, but with this record – I wanted to push it to a more dance floor place. In the end it became quite a cinematic piece of UK Garage. Also, who doesn’t love an out of context dulcimer. I played it to Ellie and she loved it, thankfully.”
It’s easy to recognize Phillips’ new approach on Inside Out, whether through more experimental structures on tracks like “With You” or the wonky, but enjoyable “Silent Letter“. All the while, Tourist maintains space for the uplifting sound we’ve come to love, like on the delightful “We Thought You Were Sleeping”.
Inside Out was born of a period of change. With the sudden loss of a friend during the pandemic, writing the album was instrumental in processing the loss. Phillips explains, “It was never a record I had imagined I would write, nor one I would want to again – but the process of creating these tracks was my attempt to make music that comforted me and explored the gamut of emotions one experiences after losing someone. Being unable to see others in the aftermath meant that writing music was a healthy way to occupy myself, and as soon as I felt like the record was in tribute to this person – the album really just wrote itself”.
As a longtime Tourist fan, I’ve always been drawn to the power of Phillips’ sound, both for its specific subtle touches and the sum of its parts. Even down to the album art, Inside Out feels relatable in an uncanny way. “Amongst all of this,” Phillips summarizes, “it was still important to me that if someone listened to the music with no understanding of what the record is about – it might speak to them purely on a sonic and musical level. My aim wasn’t to write a murky, heavy album to express these themes, but one that felt both euphoric, celebratory and melancholic all at once.”
And to that, we say job well done.
Check out Inside Out below and let us know your favorite tracks on the album!
Featured photo courtesy of artist (credit: Roger Rich)