Canadian born duo Tom Howie and Jimmy Vallance both took separate journeys to New York City where they eventually formed their musical partnership. Hailing from the same high school in Vancouver, Canada the two future Dj’s ended up uniting years later stemming from a chance meeting—leading to the deep-house collaboration known as Bob Moses. After a few EP drops, the one-name duo have released their first full album, All in All. Seamlessly weaving its way through multiple genres, All in All ruminates in the ear, drawing the listener into its dark, atmospheric soundscape and never letting up.
The duo are quick to credit the city of Vancouver, its artistic culture, and even the weather as inspiration for their sound. Dark winters and cold nights—the city glow of light reflected off snow and ice—the album itself has an isolated wintry feel to it. One could also understand how New York would be an inspiring-worthy substitute to Vancouver in the creation of their eclectic mix of drum and base, house, and sensual songwriting.
The pace of the album is nearly flawless, with the opener “Far From The Tree” gradually enveloping the listener in a steady burst of beats, synths, and building crescendos. Lyrics echo and fade, providing a perfect tone-setting preview of what to expect on the rest of the album. “Winter’s Song” keeps things smoothly churning—keyboards and synths complement the catchy chorus of lyrics as the steady vacuum-like beat strobes past like street-lights on a dark night.
By the time the album pulsates its way through the brooding instrumental “Interloper”, it’s easy to see that Bob Moses is much more than bass, synths, and the occasional hook. Their singing-songwriting talent shines through on songs like “Stealing Fire”, “Hands to Hold” “I Aint Gonna Be The First To Cry”, and “Grace”—the latter two previously released together as a single. Even when songs showcase lyrics and structure they never lose that dark, black-lit drum and base feel. Instead the fusion of different elements meld together perfectly. A tinge of Massive Attack, early Paul Oakenfold mixtapes-—even elements of Duran Duran congeal into this cauldron of electronic goodness.
Little guitar riffs are peppered in throughout the album as well, surfacing on songs like “I Aint Gonna Be The First To Cry” and “Stealing Fire”. There is even an acoustic stripped down version of “Hands to Hold” just so they can prove that full instrumentation isn’t a foreign concept.
All in All is a superbly crafted piece of music. The blend of sounds and styles on this album are magnetically infectious. Bob Moses’ broodingly sensual debut album can take you from the dark corners of a club to cruising down the concrete jungles of the inner city. The production value deserves a nod as well. Each sound comes through crystal clear—solidified bass never overshadowing voice or any of the liquid-like electronic elements on this collection of 12 tracks.
While it continues finding new ears to infect, it would be hard to understand how All in All won’t propel these two talented musicians to the next level of exposure and notoriety. All in All has something in it for everyone. At times danceable, mesmerizing, as well as introspective—Bob Moses has shown that in a time where innovation can be rare—a fresh take on a familiar style can be sonorously rewarding.