music | reviews | album
By Edward Blake
Nothing beats a good nautical theme when it comes to music. Space is so new and cliché-ridden that when used conceptually it nearly always comes across as tacky or datable. So Subtracks is off to a good start before I’ve even pressed play, due to the picture of a submarine on the cover, obvious name giveaway and useful press release. The music is seriously good stuff; the result of years of experimenting by Graham Massey (808 State) it dives deep into the heritage of classy electronica like Gescom, Black Dog and Bola and transmutes its own bizarrely twisted fantasy world of sub-aquatic electro-burbles and undulations into proceedings. It’s all very evocative and atmospheric but underpinned with a tight-as-hell rhythmic skill, with definite outboard gear usage (lovely fat drum machine sounds) backing up some of the most abstract cinematic electro jazz sounds I’ve heard. It’s definitely a ‘stay for the trip' album, with only a few tracks standing out as get-up dance types. For the rest of the journey below it’s a murky world of fractured light, unfathomable sounds and deep, deep pressure. Definitely one to check out.