Re-press of one of this year's most deservedly frotted-against releases. Apologies if you already know/own it, but it's worth flagging up for those who don't.
For one thing Short Passing Game feels like the brightest and bolshiest manifestation yet of the neo-fourth world impulse present in Ramzi's recent 12"s, Fergus Clark's Miracle Steps comp, ++. But there's more to it than that...it's not so much a puzzle with some of its pieces missing, as a puzzle with too many pieces: a mad-as-a-fried-egg convergence of post-rock, dub, zoned techno, post-punk/DIY, kraut and bucolic folk-jazz energies which, to everyone's great surprise, holds together very f**king nicely, thank you. It's the stand-out release to date from Wah Wah Wino, and the one least fussed about the dancefloor (though at times certainly not incompatible with it).
I can take or leave the itchy Suicide motorik of the title track, but then I always can (end of the day, if it's not Vega then it might as well be Whitey). But from there on in it's solid. 'Going Machine' comes over like an anal-retentive Tortoise arrangement loosened up with smoke and played on Brenda Ray or Vivien Goldman's water-damaged kit. 'Running Into Coverage' is a fraught Marlovian river charter, its oily bass, banked Hasselly percussion and insect murmur building to a dissonant, hellishly psychoactive crescendo, before every element falls away save for a wailing siren you didn't realise was there in the first place: it's like hacking your way to a clearing at the heart of the jungle and finding a branch of Costcutter.
If there's a One, 'Storm Desmond' is it: a dub-scuffed infinite horizon of gently padding drum machine, needlepoint guitar (very Pajo, again) and disarmingly lyrical, Surman-ish space-jazz clarinet. A song for liquid days. 'Happy Highway' attempts to divert traffic from the Autobahn to the US interstate, but ends up lost in the Balearics with nowt but a sun-melted copy of John M's One World for a compass. It's rare that a record manages to convince so absolutely of its own insanity, while remaining approachable, and pleasure-centre-bashing throughout. Hard to know if this is a genius oneaway, or the beginning of something bigger/stranger. Doesn't matter. Enjoy today.