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AU61: Stereo Tracks

January 4, 2010

This is what I was listening to at the end of October, then…

SHACKLETON – ASHA IN THE TABERNACLE (PERLON)

Sam Shackleton is the kind of visionary producer that transcends genre. Sure, the torrents of sub-bass in his tunes owe much to dubstep, but his new album Three EPs goes way beyond the template laid out by Skream, Benga and co, and this track from it is one of the creepiest pieces of music you’ll hear all year. Snatches of the children’s hymn ‘He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands’ drift into the mix among the groaning synths, the pitter-patter of percussion and the churning bass, and it sounds for all the world like a funeral march. This is gloriously weird and wholly original music.

GENTLE FRIENDLY – VINCENTT (UPSET THE RHYTHM)

You thought the States has this whole noise-pop thing sewn up? You thought wrong, as Peckham synth-and-drums two-piece Gentle Friendly are holding it down for this side of the pond. Like No Age, Animal Collective, Deerhunter et al, they oscillate between serrated noise and moments of dreamy serenity. This track from their debut album falls into the latter camp, a lilting tale of unspecified shenanigans on a scientific base.

CHROMEO – NIGHT BY NIGHT (SKREAM REMIX) (GREEN LABEL SOUND)

Following high-profile reworkings of both La Roux and Bat For Lashes, remixer du jour Skream brings his lurching dubstep rhythms to smoother-than-smooth loverboys Chromeo. And guess what? It only bloody works! Ollie Jones’s genius is to make remixes that don’t sound like remixes, so the song is kept pretty much intact (right down to the hair-metal guitar solo); everything is just so; and it sounds as natural as the (equally excellent) Italo-disco original. A+, young man.

A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS – EGO DEATH (MUTE)

The New York trio’s debut proper is frequently of a lighter timbre than the terrifying collection of EPs that came out last year amid talk of ‘The loudest band in New York’. Not here though, oh no. The towering centrepiece of the formidable Exploding Head, ‘Ego Death’ is a dead-eyed wonder that channels all your favourite bands that have ever worn shades and a black leather jacket. Oliver Ackerman stays in mean-and-moody mode throughout, but the guitars sell it, played through own custom-made pedals and squealing in the chorus as if summoned from the depths of hell.

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