Pincer movement

Right, can't stop long, I’m off on HOLIDAY tomorrow - holiday in the sense of temporarily relocating the paralysing stress and frustration and self-doubt of day-to-day life to a sunnier setting (like being HOT helps). Joking aside (though I’m not joking) I am looking forward to having a little free time to contemplate… but contemplate WHAT?! I don't even know. Some answers when I return. 

So much good stuff in this week, with a particularly generous serving of unseasonably grey and miserabilist dnb/techno: a second outing of junglist mayhem on DROOGS from Aspect, and a new hydra-headed label/project from (I think!) Vega, Pessimist, Overlook and Karim Maas called 4562. 

We didn’t participate in so-called Record Store Day last month - not out of ideological protest (I mean who even cares), but laziness really, and also because, well, blah. If there was a protest, it was more on aesthetic grounds, but again whatever... Reason I blather about this is because each year, when the day is done, and the great unwashed have had their fill of tat, the leftovers are made available to the skulking likes of us.... And it just so happens that this year, among, are (relatively fuss-free) reissues of two of our all-time favourite albums. One of them is among this week's picks below, but we’ll save that one for next week when we have a bit more time to lavishly sings its praises (ooh, SUSPENSE!)

Anyway... hope you're well!

4 6 2 5 / ASPECT
4625001 / DROOGS002 (BUNDLE)

4 6 2 5 / DROOGS | 12"+12" | £18.99

These two new limited 12”s from the rapidly expanding and increasingly prolific UVB-76 camp have arrived at the same time and are both pretty crucial, so they can share this week's limelight (such as it is) - grab them from us either separately or, for a limited time, together in a £-saving BUNDLE. First up a new label and group project, 4 6 2 5, which is a cloak and dagger affair but bears (we think?!) obvious traces of Pessimist, Vega, Karim Maas and Overlook. A kind of UVB allstars then, and as good, and as diverse, as you would expect of that: 'Non Citizen' slows and pares down Source Direct's snake style into a droning, minimal drum-funk, while ‘Proles’, mid-tempo breakbeats hooked onto its brittle, reduced electro chassis, feels like the natural extension of experiments undertaken by Pessimist on last year's self-titled LP. It's almost certainly the shadowy Karim Maas behind (ace) club-hassle / noise pressure-cooker  'Cassette_A' but the EP's most vital, vicious and sound-bombing offering is ‘The Barrens’: a ferociously on-point dungeon stepper, driven by planet-gargling Reese bass, that sounds like the long-awaited reincarnation of Ruffhouse. Granite-hard and ultra-alienated, but also swinging and dubwise, it owes as much to classic Sandwell District as it does to dnb - but this is music concerned not with genre, only fully righteous, rave-demolishing intensity. Such a banger! 

If it's bangers you want, make sure you also check in with the new DROOGS. The second instalment in this very collectible but also brilliantly functional white label series of war-dubs is an Aspect solo mission, and we think it's fair to say it's RIDICULOUS - in the overwhelmingly positive sense of the word. Both tracks, that is, although you've got to hand it to 'Stand Clear': with its boisterous, zero-hour duh-duh vamp and brawling, rrrrrolling breaks, this is the kind of remorseless, heavy-ordnance, all-comer-crushing dancefloor weapon we didn't think anyone made any more. Oi! 



LILY RECORD | LP | £15.99

Lush reissue (and first vinyl edition) of Sul Tempo, the sole album by the suitably mysterious Lorad Group. This '88 opus is a bit of a holy grail for the pyjama set, and it's not hard to understand why: "a musical rendering of the contemporary work-day", it's an agreeably airy, jazzy, minimalist vision of mood-music / pop-ambient, rendered with the kind of boderline twee and wipe-clean digital polish you'd typically associate with post-YMO/Hosono Japan. It's so utopian-sounding that it actually ends up sounding pretty dystopian... the suicidal salaryman's soundtrack of choice. That's a recommendation! Amazing artwork too...the full creamy package. 


EASY ACTION | LP | £17.99

Some worthy RSD spill-off in the shape of Easy Action's new limited (500 copies) vinyl edish of this high-def but gorgeously mottled DIY/art-rock beauty from Jowe Head of Swell Maps and Television Personalities FAME. Out of print on the black shite since the mid-80s, Pincer Movement is easily the best of the post-Swellies solo albums, effortlessly eclipsing Epic Soundtracks and Nikki Sudden's (OK occasionally heart-rending but) thoroughly unadventurous offerings; in fact its relative vim makes it clear that it was Head who gave his former band their unpredictable, (experi)mental edge. It also anticipates at some level the concise, drug-damaged dronescapes that TVPs mk.2 (with Jowe on board) would essay on records like The Painted Word. It's a strange record, a whimsical crustacean scuttle through various psychedelic pop and lugubrious art-funk cut-ups, as if the Eno of Taking Tiger Mountain hit the blotter and then got locked inside a seafood restaurant...aye. The music is busy but incredibly spacious and dubby (far too pristine and studio-polished to truly be called DIY, despite its lawlessness), meaning even the more sub-consciously surreal motifs hit the mark, culminating in an unforgettable sequence of eccentric, underwater death-disco anthems: 'Glistening Pincer', 'Mermaid', 'Swissair'... So good, no self-respecting collection of UK hippie-punk is complete without this fella. 



THE DEATH OF RAVE | 2LP | £18.99

2LP of four-dimensional grime/2-step/tekno/electro/flat-beat... easily one of the most exhilarating and legitimately futuristic dancefloor shock-outs of 2018 so far, effortlessly vaulting past the lofty benchmarks set by FFT, Nkisi and Rian Treanor with the help of some unexpectedly biiiiig, sticky hooks and space-time-disembowelling, liquid-sword production that makes pretty much everything else we’ve heard in recent times sound dated, parochial and fundamentally f****ng pointless. Whether or not GL’s intention, it feels like the giddy culmination of long-term clinical trials to bring the bleeding edge of hardcore/avant computer music into the heart of the rave - mature here meaning totally unpretentious, with a refreshing emphasis on PLEASURE and IMMEDIACY.  It’s never boring - but unlike so much stuff from the same milieu, it’s not annoying either, doesn’t feel like homework.

I mean of course when you zoom out slightly it’s absolutely, sectionably mental, as you’d expect from any worthy Death O' Rave side, but fundamentally Unfold UPDATES and COMPLICATES and INVIGORATES established codes of club-friendly structure, measure and texture, rather than rejecting them wholesale. With its reliance on prismatic mid-range tones, there’s an obvious debt to Mark Fell’s labcoat-house interventions, but there’s a sensuousness to this gear -  and a playfulness, and a hooligan SWERVE - that is sorely missing from, say, a Sensate Focus record, or indeed Lazar’s striking but fundamentally pretty trying 2015 collaboration with Fell, The Neuorobiology of Moral Decision Making (I know). So it's OUT with science for science’s sake, IN with rolling sub-low basslines, ballistic, clap-heavy drum edits and nuff life-affirming, mind-strobing chord vamps! OUT with Nurofen-necessitating harshness, IN with a sound that is - despite its extra-terrestrial scope - properly rooted and dubwise. Yes, 100% gen-u-ine avant-garde yet TIMELESS garage-techno that sounds PHENOMENAL when you’re stoned. Isn’t that all anyone ever wanted?! Such a good record - built to shock and awe, but also to last. Treat yourself! 



INCIENSO | 2LP | £16.99

2LP. It's no DJ Python (tough act etc etc), but this second release from Jenny Slattery and Anthony Naples' Incienso is plenty absorbing and weird enough not to be too easily filed away. Largely but not exclusively downtempo, all smeared with reverb and suffocated with sub-bass, its just the right side of easy listening, an introspective collision of blunted city-glo ambience, decelerated deep house and rugged, chillin-with-the-wrong-b-girl breakbeats. One to spend some time with and get to know properly...(sorry I realise that sounds a bit creepy).   Next Post Previous Post