Friday, 27 June 2014

Time Attendant - Bloodhounds (Exotic Pylon)

From Sun Ra's cosmic keyboard thrashing on Gods Of The Thunder Rain (Live At Montreux) to Time Attendant's Ermine Fever, that was my sonic experience this morning and the two were quite compatible. Afro future past, analogue future present - they're linked by different approaches to percussive rhythm, the natural and mechanical/sampled. Sun Ra is partial to a chant, but whoever is saying what cannot be understood on Ermine Fever adds to the the mystery and atmosphere (like a lost soul in space crying out to be saved).

(Is that link tenuous? Possibly.)

Paul Snowdon always avoids falling into the ghostly-by-numbers trap and this record is no exception. Nettle Sting Riddle conjures up the spirit in the machine without resorting to spook cliché; packed with small details, layered ethereal textures of twilight twinkling, field samples and tormented equipment. Inky's Patch has a basic dub-style template which in the hands of others would be just that with whizzy effects, but what Snowdon adds to the background colour on this canvas exceeds what most mortals would imagine. The simplest of melodies is warped with varying bass tones, subtle echo and swooping electronic punctuation.

Horses, horses! There's one on here (Flashy Pointer). And a barking dog. Many samples (?) and field recordings are buried in the mix. The mix is everything. The composition, if you like, if that's not lending it too much weight. I don't think so. Snowdon does compose and in that he's a rarity amongst modern electronic music makers. Without exactly being radical and sometimes using simple beats, he still pieces together tracks that continue to present previously unheard components upon replaying. Bloodhounds may not get into top gear speed-wise, but as some tracks chug along your brain is bound to get chewed up in the cogs of Snowdon's cunning mechanics.

Exotic Pylon

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