Plaid :: Spokes (Warp, CD)

503 image 1(11.03.03) The anticipated new work by Plaid (Andy Turner, Ed Hanley) starts right off with a distorted lullaby with chilling vocal styling provided by Lucca Santucci, and after 2 minutes this romp swings fully into jumping rhythmics.

“Even Spring” steps deeper into past electro than ever before, and with such smarts. This is minimalist beat purely redefined. On “Crumax Rins” the percussion is sonorous and heavenly, timed like Dali’s melting clocks, just oozing away. The vibes are resonant and form smoke rings, lingering in order. This should have been their debut recording, it’s got the underpinnings of originality and basslines aplenty.

Vinyl cut-ups and static’s are pretty commonplace in today’s electronic music scene: Plaid one-ups the rest by taking the high-end snap of vinyl groove pitch building “Upona” – reinventing something that could be called post-glitch if its main intention weren’t to then funk it all up with even groovier beats.

Since the mid 90s these gents have only brought good to the scene, have remixed and remodeled some of todays most innovative artists’ records, and by the sounds of it crafting new territory that not only keeps up with the Joneses but melds multiple genres into a fine listen. “Zeal” will surely be one of the first platters to spin independently in laser-lit automation. Its gutsy Kraftwerkian breath-work is playful and yet all grown up. Plaid have the right balance of mystical ambience and experimentation, launching them from an atypical rhythm beat box. Asian influences drift into a patchwork of slow-tempo moodiness on “B Born Droid;” a sultry tango that would nicely complement cruising a late night subway.

This ten-track disc is an immediate pleaser, especially for those who like sounds that can be coy, conceptual and at the same time funky and salacious – like the bobbing happy-go-lucky flavor of “Get What You Gave”. Some sort of calypso-driven disco meets jazz-hot meets the wild kingdom. “Buns” sounds at first to be something ala Trio’s “Da, Da, Da” but soon blends arctic visions derivative of the tectonic era of John Foxx and Gary Numan. Plaid has basically reshaped the 80s on Spokes and its update should last longer than its potential 15 minutes.

Spokes is out now on Warp.

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