Slugabed – Time Team (Ninja Tune/ May 7 2012)
By Gary Lewis
Slugabed sounds like it could be an Alan Titchmarsh musical side project,or a sleeping vessel for a gastropod mollusc, but no! It’s the nom de plume of one Greg Feldwick, a ridiculously talented 22 year old. A bass merchant making twisted hip-hop and dubstep, who takes the rules and masticates wildly on them to make some gloriously innovative sounds.
Having recorded for Planet Mu, Ramp Recordings and Stuff Records (as well as holding down a Brighton residency at Donkey Pitch), Slugabed has dropped his debut album on Ninja Tune, home to legends such as Roots Manuva, Coldcut, Mr Scruff, Cinematic Orchestra and many, many more.
It’s as though somehow, the Street Sounds Electro series landed on his doorstep. A gift from the vintage vinyl fairy; and he’s raided that era’s box of tricks (808s, 909s, claps, analogue basslines), twinned them with some tres modern sensibilities, added a dash of humor, a mite of melancholia, and a head for the stars. It’s the kind of album you can play on shuffle, and be surprised at the contextual shapeshifting. No two tracks are the same.
The album opens with ‘New Worlds’, a melange of chirruping bleeps, backward/cut-up vocals and bass that makes me think of Major Lazer with a serious bout of melancholia. ‘Sex’ is R&B in a time machine; squelchy synths over a steamy three minutes, with the remainder of the track a nice, ambient post-coital glow. All this time is a glitchy geisha serving up a a steaming bowl of digital bass and abstraction. ‘Travel Sweets’ rattles around a sonic cage and is dischordant yet strangely beguiling (much like the whole album). On ‘Unicorn Suplex’, arpeggiated chords flutter alongside some deep, crisp beats. ‘Climbing a Tree’ could be Burial on a bright and breezy day.
At times, the album is no easy listen, but perseverance is the key. One must have broad shoulders to see this through to the end, but will be rewarded with a clever, funny, innovative and head nodding piece of work. With productions such as these, it’s a lot of fun to dip into the nomenclature nomination box. Is it moonstep? Evilectro? Blip-hop? What’s in a name? Just stick your headphones on and get jiggy with it.
If you’re looking for more, head over to his Soundcloud page and check his mix of Busta Rhymes ‘Dangerous’ – drama, danger and dance floor shapes being deftly thrown about in abandon. Also, for a steaming pile of filthy bass and and analogue distortion, seek out his growling remix of ‘Simon Says’ by Pharaoe Monch. Let Slugabed get in your head.