Slowdeck - "Multiple Offenses"
(Waveform Records 2002, 02102-2)
From Aural Innovations #21 (October 2002)
"A Little Stranger (baby shoes)" begins this decidedly "UK Trip-Hop" album from a bloke named Lascelles with a fairly punchy down-beat hip-hop rhythm, simple repeating piano motifs and little electronic bleeps. "Ill World" is the longest cut at 8+ minutes, starting with the soul singing of Vanessa Darby, lyrics and moans both, over another down-tempo beat. The spaciness is ambient, rarely intrusive and frankly not that enrapturing. On the other hand, what I'll call "Ill World Pt. 2" may be the best event of the whole album, where some juicy wave-synth combines with hummable dub-bass--very smooth, very cosmic. There's plenty of "spacey" music around, but this is rather SPACIOUS instead. "Alone" is catchy funk-hop with more of Darby's poppy soul-vox, simple piano/organ bits, tame synth backdrops.
"Soft Hallucination" is more beyond than the usual, but fairly brief. "Butterfly" has a more ominous gutteral bass-line and freaky dubbed-out effects, giving it a darker tone. "Scared Me (so busy)" follows along similar lines in terms of mood, and shakes things up mid-way with a rather pummeling garage-hop beat and a few sitar whirls.
This isn't bad by any means, and far more musically dynamic than pedestrian radio pap, but this scene is way glutted and it didn't grab me by the nards like the otherworldly transmissions of the Orb, FSOL, Anubian Lights or Third Eye Foundation. Vanessa's voice is not really distinctive or used uniquely. The record is rarely original or exhilarating and has too many cliches like the typical voice samples, simplistically looped violin/flute samples and intentional vinyl-noise. But again, there are some decent tracks and it could always work well enough for an opiate dance-party. Keep workin' on it, it's at least in the ballpark.
For more information you can visit the Waveform Records web site at: http://www.waveformhq.com/.
Contact via snail mail c/o Waveform Records; PO Box 12684; La Jolla, CA 92039-2684.
Reviewed by Chuck Rosenberg