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Given the raw energy packed into this album, it would be to the surprise of many that the gears of Ninja Tune’s new signing started to tremble.
On the eve of Ninja Tune’s twentieth (!) anniversary, Eskmo joined the label to release his latest, self-titled album. As if he needed to, the Californian producer is keeping the imprint relevant, and while his new album is not the most groundbreaking stuff the label has backed, there’s something on it for those who don’t mind some noise-fixation, let alone some sub-bass.
The first point about the album—the one that can’t be avoided—has to be the vocals on the producer’s self-title debut. It feels like the vocals could have been put to better use if they, like the other samples, had been chopped up to obscurity, as on the slow mover ‘Starships‘. Instead, they linger somewhere between just being an instrument and the monotonous utterings of a voiceover program on your laptop. That’s kind of funny, but less so when the majority of the songs have a tag line to them—superfluous ones at that. While I may not have known that the narrator on ‘Become Matter Soon, For You’ had lived two lives, the inkling that we were ‘Color Dropping‘ arose long before the voice let me know that’s what was going on.
But, getting back to the actual tracks, Eskmo’s third full-length is like being welcomed into a world of electronic nuts and bolts. Noises are recycled, roughed up, even polished, and hammered into structures in a studio that simply must have a conveyer belt inside it. Like most of the tracks, the serene ‘Siblings‘ is pieced together as it goes along, starting from a simple chord progression and transforming into a hollow, reverbed landscape of guitars, static and synths. He may be stacking up on the fat where a more sparing approach would have made for a nice break, but, about seven times out of ten, you do end up in that head space.
At other times, the physical ramifications of having infectious bass lines whose itch won’t be scratched until you’re mid-air are neat, especially live, where songs like ‘Cold & Stone‘ must be ones to witness (again, spare the vocal sample). Given the raw energy packed into this album, it would be to the surprise of many that the gears of Ninja Tune’s new signing started to tremble.
Words Sven Carlsson