Robert Logan :: Accurate Spit Boy EP / Inscape (Slowfoot)

1813 image 1(May 2009) There’s a deal of buzz about Robert Logan. Bio-details refer to his opening for Massive Attack, co-writing the score for an Oscar-winning documentary, supposed communings with Eno, textures and beatwork for Grace Jones. Quite a profile already. And the Accurate Spit Boy EP, teaser for full-length, Inscape, certainly points to a refinement of sound already artfully trailed/trialled on debut, Cognessence. The EP in fact collects two tracks from Inscape, soundtracking what Logan has called “a very deranged dance floor” – one whose noir-ish dystopian playfulness hints at, if not murder, then some dark mischief on it. The title track comes up with a grime-ragga-dubstep equation and factors in some dark digital logarithms, super-colliding rhythmic vectors into each other with slick programme-prowess. “Pigs” follows with a wallow in porcine detritus, washed with finely synthesized textures, shivering in dubbed-out updates of Tobin-esque bricolage. The closing “Cut By Concrete” finds a pummeling prelude yielding to a main body of full-on bass-weight, stepped-up syncopations, and scabrous post-industrial timbres. Enjoyably questing twitchy hybridism.

Inscape purveys a similar resonant blend of viscerally massaged acoustics and electronics, manifesting with subtle post-classical inflections (Stravinsky, Messaien, Bartok?) in its voicings, harmonic-melodic elements more marked. Logan’s imagination was apparently piqued by a felicitous encounter in Hungary between an abandoned factory and an engulfing forest. This nature-culture opposition finds expression in the free-play between binaries of earth-air, fire-water, cosmic-mundane, bios-thanatos, organic-digital, maximal-minimal, etc. “Angels And Insects” inaugurates proceedings, bass bomping a la Laswell sessioning on Planet Mu. The sonic attack of tracks like “Chivalry,” the grimy assault-and-battery of “Ultraflux,” the callisthenic d’n’b of “Throb” are interspersed with more expansive interludes – the delicate “Microcosmos,” the mists of “Balaton” and the comparative balm of “The Warmth” are eloquent testament to Logan’s range of expression, and an ability to orchestrate the light-and-shade sequence of a full-length to proper effect. Mood shifts between poles of elegy-melancholy and maelstrom-melodrama, often within the same piece. To indulge a referencing binge, the cinematic symph-hop of the title track is the sound of Mezzanine-period Massive Attack shacked up in Autechre’s post-Anvil Vapre studio spinning loops from Steve Roach’s mystic-chord-and-sacred-space library into a heaving undertow; a heady audio-hallucinogen of enigmatic swirls, dissonant chord progressions draped over neo-d’n’b, proto-dubstep, and dark-hop.

Robert Logan keeps his creations on a tight leash, though; it’s all choreographed scissor-kicks, controlled texture-bleeding, with a dexterity of sound design beyond the brutalism of the cut-and-shut splice-and-dice merchants of mentalism. In sum, Inscape offers something to thrill the heart and soul of Hymen label-lovers (cf. Hecq, Architect, Gridlock), early Warp-ophiles (Autechre, Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, Plaid), and even phonauts of the ambient space of Steve Roach and Robert Rich prepared to hear echoes of the cosmos in the beating body electric of the post-futurist cityscape.

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