Summer Sun is the debut album of music graduate, and Southampton University alumni, Ben Willmott. With many years of experience being a part of numerous funk and jazz bands, Willmott has finally created a unique album which demonstrates his versatility as a multi-instrumental musician.
The musical composition of each track and album as a whole is well done, very well done actually, however the fact that the album is almost a portfolio of work means the diversity of genre is vast with some tracks such as ‘Infocrap Avalanche’ taking away from more impressive tracks such as ‘Questions’ or ‘Water’. This being said, for a start-up musician this is by no means a terrible thing and, if you listen to the album, bear in mind you need to appreciate each track as it comes to relay Willmott’s musical talent. The fact that some of the jingle-sounding folk tracks are in fact snippets from a Shakespeare play demonstrates Willmott’s daring music composition.
Clearly unafraid to challenge modern mainstream music, his bluesy sounding instrumentals in ‘Two Weeks’ and funky jive in ‘Where Does it Come From’ transport you back to when jazz was not a thing of the past. Unexpected components such as clean recorder solos feature throughout the album which is refreshing and exciting to hear, and you will even be exposed to the national anthem of fictional land of Umfaloa, created by Willmott in ‘Bosh Isa’.
The album is completed with the truly emotional track ‘Questions’, which was originally written in 2003. With an origin on the keys and vocals, this is a song that demonstrates where Wilmott began as a musician and how far he has come and transformed as a musician since the song’s origin. To me, this transformation isn’t always necessarily for the better. Although, it is a genuine delight to hear an album which is obviously the joyful experimentation in numerous genres that he fundamentally understands.
Although the full album is not for everyone, the diversity displayed in the album will allow a little bit (hopefully a lot) for everybody. In my opinion, Summer Sun is definitely worth a listen and especially as it demonstrates what a music graduate from our university has achieved, and how his abilities have been warped by his studies and own musical preferences. It is a genuine delight to listen to an album produced solely on the enjoyment of experimental music.