Tag Archive: Beats


Racine

Voodoo Dred – Racine

As I type these words I’m listening to a lossless audio version of Voodoo Dred’s debut album Racine through some relatively high spec headphones with absolutely no distractions whatsoever. Whilst this might seem to be pretty unremarkable to you readers, sitting at home with your amazing 5.1 surround sound high fidelity stereo and surgically enhanced ears, this fact is pretty significant considering today’s first attempt at listening to the tracks; specifically an attempt that took place in my car (which has shit speakers), through an FM transmitter plugged into the cigarette lighter socket (which tends to make everything sound shit) in the form of 320 mp3’s which I converted myself through a questionable program that I got free off the internet (I can’t vouch for the effect that this had, but it probably made everything sound incrementally shitter).

Don’t hate me, I had good reasons for this aberration; I only managed to get the tracks downloaded late last night because the internet in Australia is rubbish and at the time of writing the album is due to drop in approximately 48 hours, 20 of which I intend to spend sleeping. So I took a shortcut or two, no harm in that, usually anyway. Then as I sat listening to the flat, compressed noise that reverberated tinnily around the spartan interior of my rapidly depreciating Honda Jazz I had a revelation; music of this calibre deserves better.

So here we are, and may I say by the way of a proper opening statement – this album is awesome. After the first Voodoo Dred E.P I was expecting big things, but by that I was thinking dancefloor moves, heavy hitters, balls out shit. You know, using the momentum of the first E.P to launch a full on assault on the waiting listeners in the style of a rookie of the year who comes out all guns blazing in the first round of his sophomore season in whatever nondescript sport this analogy seems to be referencing, much to the delight of sportscasters and fans who will brand him as the next Joe DiMaggio, or Michael Schumacher or Ronaldo or whatever. I think that made sense, anyway the point is that Voodoo Dred has taken an altogether different path. The beats here are incredibly refined and indicative of massive amounts of love, care and attention. The congas, tribal riddims and womping bass of the original release are still present but there’s a subtle, elegant craft to each of the productions that give them so much more impact than the ten tonne heavy approach ever could.

I didn’t even bother to look up what individual tracks were called whilst listening through this time around, it’s that tasty. Sometimes an album will catch you like that, leave you spellbound and content without making you go “awwww sheeeeeeeeeeit, puuuuuuulll uuuuup, Reeeeewind” etc, because you’re enjoying the experience so much that there may as well be no track markings at all (incidentally I rarely actually shout any of those things, but will admit to thinking them quite a lot). Anyway for this reason exactly I’m not going to spoil any of the tracks for you by trying to paint a vivid word picture or analogise them to ‘smoking a bowl with a troupe of monkey’s riding elephants into a strangely pixelated sunset’ or something similarly overhyped, because I probably won’t do them justice and if I’m honest this is the sort of album that should be sat down to and digested in its entirety. Like a fine meal, rather than chopped up into a subjective highlights reel.

So that’s it, go get this album, download it right now and find some time to listen to it where it won’t be prey to interference or degradation. I’m not saying that a casual listen won’t be gratifying, by all means chat or smoke or drive or do whatever you please over the top of it, but both it and you deserve some alone time together, so make sure you make the time and I promise you won’t regret it.

 
Racine is out now on Dub Temple Records
Artwork By Warren Handley

Reset

After a confusing morning of downloading unnecessary programs and being baffled by terms such as SQLserver and webmatrix , Grendelcakes has now successfully moved to WordPress, an exciting development as I’m sure you’ll agree. Anyway, its been a while so to get the ball rolling here’s a bunch of words about a couple of things.

Downliners Sekt – Meet The Decline

Finishing off the run of three peerless E.P’s, Meet the Decline takes on an altogether more reflective and restrained approach than its predecessors. The opener All I Can Hear Now ties a  hymnal wash to delicate guitar flourishes and light, almost breathy percussion. Although considerably more subtle and understated than anything they’ve released before it maintains their unearthly sound with carefully placed snatches of the ghostly refrains and technoid machinations that have come to signify their music marque. Despite its contrary direction its the sort of music that could only have been made by them, a delicate statement of intent that opens up an entirely new galaxy of possibilities and defies all expectations.

Rising Saudade is  deeply ingrained with their future gazing ephemera and decidedly more recognisable, but it begins with more of an introspective take on things, as though caught in a lucid dream about their path through the music scene thus far, before launching into a stuttering charge and crashing through layers of sound that shatter around it before fading into its wake. Locked Faces seems to be an expansion on the muttered and distorted phrases that littered their earlier work, giving the lead to a distant voice that carries a pervasive air of discord as it winds its way around a skeletal framework of clicks, glitches and clipped beats. Hockey Nights in Canada closes out proceedings in breathtaking form, sounding like Mount Kimbie’s Maybes being reinterpreted by Mogwai and Godspeed You Black Emperor. Dense layers of sound, lightly brushed, loose sprung snares and Ice Hockey commentary that seems to echo in from another dimension, all combining to form a devastatingly resonant cry that sounds like the sort of music you might have once heard on the periphery of a dream.

Seekae – +Dome

I’d never even heard of Seekae before catching them supporting Mount Kimbie at a White Rhino gig earlier this year, but it immediately became apparent that they were a little bit special. The set ran from crisp trickling beats in the mould of Mount Kimbie and James Blake, to yawning chasms of crackling dissonance more reminiscent of 65 Days of Static. The album +Dome stands as a fair counterpart but here the song structures and themes are far more gentle  and introspective. For the most part it unravels beautifully, avoiding dancefloor impact for jaw dropping loveliness and turning inwards onto itself to create intricate colourful patterns.

What is possibly the most impressive thing (among a whole raft of other impressive things) is the way in which the songs develop, often starting out with a jarring or staggered build that seems to be heading nowhere before suddenly unwinding into something jaw dropping and awesome. A perfect example of this being Mingus, which spends half of its duration building somewhat ambiguously until the long awaited crescendo suddenly transitions into  an immaculate rhythm of clicks, claps and vocal stabs before heavenly arpeggiations come in to power the tune to a breathtaking close. Yodal and Reset Head are other particular highlights but for entirely different reasons. The former, comprising the most  dancefloor focused joint on the album, comes from a seemingly Amon Tobin influenced hip hop slant; moving from crackles and digital detritus to chest thumping beats and serrated stabs in a matter of bars. The latter is a perfect exercise in how to unite aspects of the Dubstep fringe with the vast expanses of post rock soundscaping, and as with the aforementioned Downliners Sekt closer, provides an poignant, mournful counterpart to Mount Kimbie’s seminal Maybes.