‘Professional Extra’ by William Sawkin

Professional Extra should gain traction fast as one of the indie scene’s pre-eminent electronica projects on the basis of the singles “Where It Goes” and “Yahoo”. It’s a bold statement, without question, but both of these compositions and recordings back up the idea that William Sawikin’s songwriting has a multitude of strengths distinguishing it from the more everyday fare popping up in the genre.

Pursuing a paint-by-numbers compositional style is a staple in every genre of popular music and techno/electronica is no different. Sawikin, however, has a clear grasp of songwriting fundamentals he achieves in both tracks, albeit in different ways. It’s when he’s satisfied this mandate for himself and the listener that he can check off that box and address himself to other facets of the performance.

Atmospherics and structure work together exceptionally well during “Where It Goes.” There is, as well, a definite progression in mood from the lighter first section into the second’s rougher textures. Lighter passages buttress each of those sections and contrast well within the arrangement. It is the better lyric of the two songs, but it isn’t any slight intended towards “Yahoo”. The conversational and open-ended lyricism of “Where It Goes” knows much more than it says outright and provides a complementary counterpoint to the music.

The vocals will be familiar for anyone knowledgeable about the style. Professional Extra aren’t smashing down borders and breaking open new territory, but Sawikin does establish himself as a songwriter capable of carving out his own niche. Professional Extra does not feel like the final statement, however, on his capabilities. Sawikin will explore in every new song, and, to a certain extent, we even hear that here. His Muse is restless and does not slack off for long.

“Yahoo” sort of underscores that. It has more musical dazzle than the first song, but it is never shallow. There is a supporting melodicism percolating throughout the song that takes alternate directions along the way without ever veering too far off-course. Sawikin is a diverse composer early in his career and it is tantalizing to consider how far he can develop the vision displayed in these songs. Any limits he faces are self-imposed.

The production for these tracks has a robust sound capable of standing toe to toe with virtually any modern production today. Professional Extra shirks nothing in the area of making an outstanding impression on listeners knowing, full well, that it is the best insurance policy an artist can have for “repeat business” and make no mistake – this is someone in it for the long haul and repeat business is on the agenda.

There will be plenty of that with this project. William Sawikin has or stands on the cusp of realizing a fully articulated vision for his music and songwriting. It will sustain his work for years to come and, most importantly, entertain and engage innumerable listeners. Professional Extra has that proverbial something extra to help push the project over the finish line with flair and substance.

Gwen Waggoner