Joker is a stellar producer whose reputation precedes him in being utterly pivotal to the evolution of the increaingly popular dubstep genre currently making tentative steps into the mainstream. To pigeonhole him as such however is a crass mistake as the music released by the eponymous producer has a superb tendency to cherry pick the greatest elements from a huge selection of influences ranging from video games to hip-hop and even rock and roll. 'The Vision' has been a good few years in the making leaving expectations undeniably high, subsequently the question is whether the aspirations of such an ambitious protege have been met by the debut release.
Initially the LP kicks off with superb furore, the first track 'Slaughter House' featuring Silas of Turboweekend fame is an example of all the characteristics that made Joker such an exciting young artist in the first place. The song begins with an epic intro with the resonance of Plastician's 'Japan' before dropping into a full on distorted bassline complimented by Silas' emotive, dark and abstract style of singing. It is certainly a testament to Joker's progression as a producer that plays upon conventions bought to the table by the listener before inverting them into a melodic composition complete with synth solos and Mortal Kombat-esque tones.
From there dissappointingly 'The Vision' takes a fairly swift dive off the cliff into the same traps that often befall producers used to releasing material within the confines of an A-side/B-side format - namely a tendency to include unnecessary filler. 'Tron' is a track that has been circling for a while now and whilst it's fluctuating dubstep melody may impress some, the fact that the track 'My Trance Girl' (four songs down the line) sounds almost identical is a big dissappointment. Especially considering that once you remove the 'Intro' and interlude track you have an album whose runtime of roughly 30 minutes in no way reflects the amount of time taken to release the album.
The proceedings do pick up on the latter half of the album as things take a more vocal turn, 'Back In The Day' featuring Buggsy, Shadz, Scarz and Double exhibits how Joker has the ability to bring out the best in the artists he works with. Each bar on the track is hard and fused perfectly with elements of R&B, garage and dub, it's just a shame that the album is constructed in an order opposing its own benefit.
'The Vision' is not terrible by any stretch, in fact it is very good, it's just the experience of listening has an air of the same frustrations one might experience when trying to sneeze. Run the album backwards and you might have more fun, not in a satanic way, simply due to the fact that it works much better as a construct.
An interesting start but bigger and better things can be expected from Bristol's biggest bassonian.