Wave Point's Debut Album Experiments With Cross Continental Collaboration
Detroit’s Wave Point, aka Bryan Jones, has swelled from triumph to triumph over his two-decade career. His early work with duo High Caliber put him in ranks with the elite of Chicago and Detroit house. Their 2004 release “Shakedown” was part of an avalanche of records from young producers that ushered in an unbridled period of growth for domestic dance music. Under his given name, he became a part of house music’s elite few, releasing records with leading labels like Ministry of Sound, Ultra, and Om. His most recent project, Golf Clap with Hugh Cleal, proved again that Jones has the kind of foresight one can only dream of. They remained on the cutting edge of dance music, setting trends for the dancefloor and the house music community at large. After they split in 2020, Jones once again reinvented himself as Wave Point. It’s a fresh step forward for an artist whose leadership in the US house scene can’t be ignored.
His new album Higher Dimension exemplifies why Jones is such a sought-after name in house music. He’s taken a break from party tech and moved in a more sophisticated direction. Lilting synths bubble up and bend into poolside beats with the ever-present thump of a jumping bassline. There’s a sense that the music was scored. It’s for the dance floor but layered in ways that encourage the listener to dissect it.
There is also a degree of emotional depth as you journey through Higher Dimension. And a sense that Jones was in a period of reflection while he wrote it. He’s learned a lot from his previous projects and thrown it all in the blender as Wave Point.
“There's a lot of stuff that I learned in the last like three or four years that would have helped Golf Clap at the very beginning. I can take those things and kind of apply it to new projects.”
The breezy summer vibes of “In the Moment” and “Blurry Lines” illuminate what inspired Jones to write such a smooth almost jazzy album. “[It was] partly COVID. I'm a product of my environment,” He admits. Endless days spent at home listening to slower grooves sent him in a direction that reflected a more relaxed mood.
“The first album is more like a summer funky album, “he explains. However, the evolution of Wave Point is incomplete. He reveals that “I'm gonna’ end up doing more bangin club stuff as well, too.”
The way Jones conceived an orchestrated Higher Dimension is an example of COVID era ingenuity. He knew he wanted to take the album in a more organic direction than his previous work. Traditionally one would hire session players. In the before times, Detroit would have proved an ideal pool of talent. In a pandemic, he had to find another way. So, he took to the internet to hire keyboardists, drummers, violinists, and horn players from around the world. The result is a wildly creative take on house music, stunningly unforced and beautifully alive. The journey to create his new album is a creative expedition to a place where the boundaries between live music and in-the-box production are blurred.
COVID offered producers the space to play with the limits of their creativity in new ways. It’s much easier to explore the edged of dance music when you aren’t expected to bang out one-hour sets every weekend.
“So, one song, ‘Feeling,’ that has like six different session players on it,” he reveals about the bluesy number that sounds like smooth jazz for the afters.
“That was more like an experiment. It was like, let's try to make the most instrumental thing I can without making it all convoluted.' There’s a bass player, a guitar player, string section, a horn section, and then another keyboard player.”
The process allowed him to put his faith in the expertise of others. Not just because he relied on them to come through, but also because he trusted their talents. He auditioned players via video, and he was continually impressed at how each instrumentalist pushed the limits of creativity.
“If you watch their video and they're playing bass guitar, and they're just killing it and playing super funky and hitting every note, then I'm more confident in you than myself. Even though I wrote this baseline. I might be a better producer than you. But like, you're better. Like, all you do is make baselines.”
He spent just as much time community building as he did writing his album. It’s something he grew to understand when Golf Clap created the expansive Facebook Group the Country Club Disco Community, named after their record label of the same name. He’s built a similar community of like-minded musicians, fans, and industry folk called Wave Point Community. And even though it bears his name, it’s about more than his creative work.
He recently put a call out to producers in the group asking for their best music. He promised to pick 15 of his favorites and promote them to his network of 2000 top-line DJs, promoters, and media folks. He believes creating personal bonds helps humanize his music.
“I mainly just do it because I enjoy doing it. It's all about personal connections. Whether it's talking to you, I'm going to show, or answering an email. I feel that it's all about if they like you and want you to succeed. And then if they do, then all sudden, your music sounds way better than I would have beforehand.”