Underground, Dance and Electronica with Chris Honnery
Border Community head honcho James Holden has just released his long overdue second album, The Inheritors. Holden’s first album, The Idiots Are Winning arrived way back in ’06, earning gushing praise from The Guardian as “the most astonishing debut in electronic music since Boards of Canada’s Music Has the Right to Children.” Seven years on and the idiots are even further ahead – thanks to Skrillex, Guetta, Swedish House Mafia et al – and the English producer has returned to set the record straight with The Inheritors, named after a William Golding (the guy who wrote Lord of the Flies) novel.
“The book is about the idea that the story of evolution is already told, but it picks out an old idea, the characters of the Neanderthals, which you empathise with,” Holden divulged to an online rag. “It fits the idea of the record following some threads that have lead to things in the present, then going back to these threads to follow them in a different direction.” Channeling Krautrock and experimental club influences, The Inheritors evokes the likes of Four Tet and Steve Reich, and is closer in mood to Holden’s DJ Kicks compilation from 2010 than his debut LP. The album features cameo appearances from Etienne Jaumet, who provides saxophone (that was picked apart and dismissed by a less than impressed cohort of mine as “brutal murder”) on ‘The Caterpillar’s Intervention’, and Shimble, who lays down vocals on ‘Circle of Fifths’. Lauded by taste-making website Resident Advisor as “perhaps the year’s most revealing and intriguing album yet,” The Inheritors is not a dancefloor release, but is likely to hit the spot for Holden and Border Community fans. It certainly did for yours truly.
London club veteran Colin McBean, AKA Mr G, will release a double album towards the end of July on Radio Slave’s Rekids label, which is imaginatively titled – wait for it – Retrospective. Over the course of his 14 years in the game, McBean has produced under various pseudonyms such as The Reaver, Mango Boy and Halcyon Daze, along with working with Cisco Ferreira as the techno duo The Advent. McBean took up the Mr. G moniker after parting from The Advent around the turn of the millennium, drawing the title from The Green Goblin of Spiderman fame. (The ‘inspired’ idea apparently being that ‘instead of pumpkin bombs he throws record bombs’; some threats from the Marvel legal team ensured this catch cry wasn’t used in his promo.) G’s evolution as a producer is encapsulated on Retrospective, which collates his tracks from different times and different labels, including cuts originally released on labels such as Phoenix G, Defected, Careless and Duty Free, also throwing in a few unreleased numbers for good measure, including the opener ‘Potion’. A custodian of analogue gear and old-school values, McBean’s productions generally fall somewhere between ‘house’ and ‘techno’ sounds – I’ll combine the two and call it ‘tech house’ – and are characterised by an omnipresent deep and heavy bass. As McBean says, “I don’t make pretty music,” but when he’s churning out cuts that do the business on the best soundsystems in the world, who cares about being pretty?
Another release to look out for in July is the next outing from Swedish producer Andreas Tilliander, a six track release that occupies that glass half full/empty middle ground between robust EP and undersized album, and has been titled simply Mini LP. (What’s with the uninspired album titles fellas?) I suppose listeners are lucky to be receiving another release from Tilliander, after he’s already delivered an interesting LP in his self-titled album, released under the TM404 moniker earlier in the year. That album showcased Tilliander’s penchant for Roland machinery, affirming that there’s still plenty of invention left in the tools responsible for acid house. Mini LP departs from those sounds and instead explores what Tilliander himself describes as “summery piano acid meets darker dubs”.
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