Reviews: L/F/D/M – Psychopaths Eating Jelly (CGI)
L/F/D/M’s slim body of work so far has been noticeable for his twisted, dirty take on analogue acid. His first two EPs for Glasgow labels Optimo Traxs and Clan Destine were large with the sort of fired up, spitting acidic grooves many people pretend they are making, but few actually do. His album from the start of the year, M Is A Shape on Kompakt sub Ecstatic, showed a deeper side to his work with the addition of woozy experimentalism and textures, and was not unlike Jamal Moss in his more unhinged and shamanistic moments.
He’s moved across the pond to Atlanta label CGI for Psychopaths Eating Jelly and delivered an EP that reinstates the heavy filth at the cost of some of the album’s more esoteric movements. Grimy 303’s front and centre, it’s a record that squawks and shimmy’s its way to some crunching madness, but not without the occasional detour into deep and sticky funk. Opener, Spareribs, No Napkin is a gravelly, pounding example of just how heavy acid house can get; the 303s are all but buried under the mud of static and distortion as the tune pumps along. Hippos In Slumber cleans up its act and briefly dances on the cusp of classic – but still twisted – Chicago tunage, recalling Mike Dunn whilst always feeling its on the verge of swapping any lingering desire to remain in Illinois for a muddy field in Essex.
It’s a deliciously off kilter record, and one that doesn’t content itself with simply pushing too far into either acid or the noisier end of techno. Rather, it brings both extremes together into a place where the obvious brutality of the approach is softened by some finely honed grooves that are never quite as buried under the muck as you might expect on first listen. Classy, nasty stuff. Just as acid house should be.
Aleks – Low Definitions (Natural Sciences)
The first release on new label Natural Sciences goes to Aleks, an artist I can’t claim to know anything about. It may well be that this is his début too and, if so, Low Definitions is a pretty strong way to kick off his recording career.
Whilst most producers are currently coming in from the lo-fi cold, casting of the fuzz and scuzz and either moving into more experimental fields or pretending that disco edits are the future, Aleks has decided to keep a hold of many of the lessons learned over the last couple of seasons. Low Definitions is a record that delights in layering sound upon sound. Occasionally they threaten to choke some of the more delicate forms that bloom beneath the maelstrom but he has the sense to allow the light in now and again.
This predilection for sonic mayhem actually disguises the fact that, down below, there are some finely detailed and classically sounding house tunes. Invoking shades of not only house, but ambient techno (of the mid nineties variety, which was frequently more techno than ambient) and also certain forms of trance before that genre became a clown shoe wearing embarrassment to its own immediate past, Low Definitions carves out enough space to let the sharp grooves do what they need to, whilst also affording the music just enough space to soak up a little bit of experimentalism. It is also one of those records that seems to benefit from pitching the bugger up quite harshly at times, especially on Multitudes where liberal use of the old +8 goes a long way from transforming its pedestrian tendencies into something far more entrancing and euphoric. Ulterior Motives itself is the pick of the litter; a splendidly acidic and dusky number that pushes the warble of the 303 through waves of hazy summer-night synths and leaves you dancing on your own as the dawn breaks.
A good début, though not without a few flaws. It could have used a firmer hand when it came to cutting out some of the more extraneous flab, and it ambles too often when it should be flying. But these are quibbles and don’t detract too much from a record that’s scattered with warm funk. Just a little more focus next time and it’ll be onwards and upwards.