Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Shackleton – Three EPs [Perlon]

Back from the dead after the smoke has settled on Skull Disco and the bones picked on Mordant Music, Shackleton is back with brand new material on the renowned techno imprint Perlon, which is the home to people like Ricardo Villalobos who Shackleton managed to catch the ear of way back with his sublime ‘Blood On Your Hands’. This collection of EPs is not an album just a collection of tracks without a theme, not unlike fellow Bristol producer Peverelist who drops his first full length CD next month. But Shackleton is now based in Berlin I hear and that may well have rubbed off on his music. 3 EPs has a more techno bump to it and sounds different to previous outings.

The first thing that strikes me about this collection is that the bass tones are so HUGE they manage to find that exact spot in the middle of your body to vibrate, this hits the spot completely. There’s also a slightly brighter feel, less dread or vibrations from beyond the grave. Its still uncompromising but in a different way a more danceable way maybe... ‘It’s Time For Love’ sounds the most like Skull Disco outings on the first of the Three EPs, with spacious beats, car horn like flourishes but also a big does of funk-like bass, which gives it a nice bump. ‘Let Go’ has some quality rolling percussive moments but it’s the opening track ‘(No More) Negative Thought’ is the pick of the bunch so far, it’s an epic slice of bass melting atmosphere. With swirling wind and organ tones, ghosts inside a computer style vocal samples and rolling tribal drum patterns. The monumental bass tones rather than the drums carry everything along, which leaves room for the drum patterns to create subtle grooves. It’s an urgent powerful piece.

EP Two (sides C-D) kicks off with ‘Mountains Of Ashes’ which harps back to the themes of Skull Disco in name at least, the rolling tablas and mountain dread atmosphere kind of fits in with that too, its just the bass that really pushes out of that bracket as does the way it progresses through minimal tweaks and a deep rolling house outro that follow a bright orchestral pad. You also get pummelled with a MASSIVE pretty bumping bass line. Shackleton has always had an epic amount of bass but he’s often used it deeper in the subs here its more prominent somehow and bigger than ever. ‘There’s A Slow Train Coming’ reminds me of some of his Mordant Music excursions. I love the way he programs his percussion here, the hi-hats and jangly bits create a slowly unravelling tension above all the dark atmosphere and space age swoops, which I presume are the trains from the title. ‘Moon Over Joseph’s Burial’ finishes the second EP with clipped jangly grooves and strange percussive elements that skip along building gently over time and an almost talky box-like ‘oh’ sample before it all drops into full on bass pressure, it’s the building monotone organ riffs that really make for a disturbing listen along with the tracks pay-off though.

The final 12” opens with ‘Asha In The Tabernacle’ and the mantra of "Sense it, know it, let it be-be-be…" has a creepy air to it that just gets stranger when the chant “He’s got the whole world in his hands” drops. The electronic pads bringing a robotic soul to the track with another organ pulse and some subtle minimal percussion, there is a sublime, blessed-out melancholy at work here especially when the mournful bass kicks in, then you know it’s a ‘zoner’ and your hypnotised. ‘Trembling Leaf’ flutters into action with spooky cut up vocals and precise percussive grooves that skip and tumble along. But it’s the final track ‘Something Has Got To Give’ its Muslim Gauze-like twisted and slightly noisy Arabic style samples that really hit the spot. There is an undeniable darkness at work here the tension builds as the drums roll on and the pads turn into mournful motifs and the distant rumble of sub bass emerges. Shackleton does melancholic sadness so well.

Shackleton flexes his muscles with his first really new material for a while and comes out on top again. It also looks like he’s still out on his own carving a sound that’s truly his. It’s hard to drop the Three EPs into any category or genre; there are techno flourishes and dubstep excursions but neither stick and nor do many others. Its music for the darkest of dance floors but dance floors non-the less, you get the feeling that all this darkness isn’t entirely serious or the work of a maniac, there’s a humour to it whether it be in the names or the samples. The bass has such a hypnotising effect along with his unique percussive programming that you get drawn into his unsettling world. Three EPs is a singular immersive vision that only Shackleton could have made, turn it up loud and feel it.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails