Lies/ More Lies - Beckett and Taylor
Snakeskin Teeth/ Abusing the Body - Spandex
This blogging lark's OK when you get free stuff as good as this.
An upcoming release on the Hand on the Plow label.
The opener, 'Lies' by Beckett and Taylor (I echo Philip's entreaty that these guys please get a less delibidinizing monniker; Beckett and Taylor sound like a firm of provinicial solicitors), is a kind of digital blues: an unplaceable and displacing suturing of house, funk, plantation chant and glitch that gratifyingly refuses to airbrush out the stitchmarks. 'More Lies' attenuates the vocal to vowel-stabs (o's and i's) and distributes it over a more driving house beat.
But the stand-outs here are the two tracks by Spandex (which is, if possible, an even worse name than Beckett and Taylor). The desire-drunk-funk of 'Snakeskin Teeth' boasts a gloriously, deliriously stoned vocal that recalls Arthur Russell at his wooziest or an even more slurred John Martyn. It's like the Junior Boys if their reference points were house and blues rather than 2-step and OMD. As the track develops, it's as if the vocals simultaneously become increasingly intoxicated and increasingly artificialized (as the lines - scarcely coherent at the start - become wreathed in delay and thick digital fog, and the voice devolves into tics and stammers) until, by the end, it sounds like it's being sung by a drunken cyborg.
Not surprsingly, one of the tracks of the year for me so far, no contest.
If 'Snakeskin Teeth' has the majestic torpor of a supine body reclining into satiation, 'Abusing the Body' (whose title has an unfortunate topical piquancy en ce moment) is all datapaniked confusion and stuttering anxiety, a chatterspasm of digitally-agitated vocal and hesitant beats. The track's hook is a sample that, when, initially, it's submerged in the mix and abbreviated to the briefest of stabs, registers only as a shiver of deja vudu, the merest subliminal sliver. As the track progresses, the suspicion that there's something familiar here hardens into recognition when the line 'You've got the body....' from Hall and Oates' epochal 'Say No Go' emerges from the digital mist.Posted by mark at May 14, 2004 05:15 PM | TrackBack