Catch-Up Reviews #5: Squarepusher, Moodie Black, Faith No More…

Rich Reviewz is coming back. Here’s some releases I’ve been enjoying recently for you to wrap your ears around…

Squarepusher – Damogen Furies

Squarepusher is Tom Jenkinson, a man who has pushed the boundaries of electronic music as far as possible since its inception in 1995. The list of his work and its variety is impressive for any musician of any genre and with each release, the direction he takes is completely unpredictable which is exactly what’s happened with “Damogen Furies” once again. 

Personally, this is sort of what I was expecting Aphex Twins’ “SYRO” release to be like, not that I didn’t love that album anyway, but this release is full of breakbeat punishment yet has catchy moments all the way through, continuing the dubstep influence from “Ufabulum”, just less obviously. It’s instantly noticeable on the first track Stoir Eiglass with the opening mid-tempo drum rolls and ‘Just Like Heaven’ synth-line, soon giving way to strangely emotional twists and turns. Baltan Arg takes a similar route with a chaotic drum and bass approach instead.

Tracks like the the following Baltang Org, Kwang Bass and finisher D Frozen Arc take a more sinister turn with darker and harsher vibes, sort of throwing a nod to the menacing feel we all got from Aphex’s Come To Daddy. The “Drukqs”-era Aphex Twin comparisons are easy to make with this album but it really is a beast of its own. This may just be the most enjoyable yet punishing release that electronica has had in years.

9/10
Favourite tracks: Stoir Eiglass, Baltang ArgExjag Nives.

Moodie Black – M B I I

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Moodie Black came out swinging with their 2014 release “Nausea”: jarring and organic instrumentals (thanks to a guitarist and drummer) with unforgiving raps from frontman K. It would be just too simple to discard the trio as ‘Death Grips wannabes’ but that couldn’t be further from the truth – where Grips might be schizophrenic and violent, Black are more brooding and atmospheric, like a mournful killer standing on the edge of a ten-story building. Bleak to say the least.

This EP however heads into a more bragadocious direction but still retains that almost suicidal feel. M A R R O W starts with pummelling bass, drums and noise while K throws accusational lines, and even makes a slide on Death Grips with ‘MC Ride is a rape of my character’. Eventually it breaks down to a slower pace before cracking into silence, where K moans something like a sombre nursery rhyme “Disappearing body in a frozen oak / Anyone around in a broken boat / Nobody around so I laugh alone / I’m coming for the hills, nowhere else to go”. It makes me think of the taunting delivery on Nine Inch Nails’ Piggy.

I D O L is an all-out track, generally picking up the pace by all members, getting especially catchy, which is furthered even more by the following 1 0 0; which is downright ridiculous in sounding like an anthem for the ‘noise-rap’ movement. It’s addictive to listen to. Final piece R O B  S M I T H returns to their morbid sound, concentrating on the “Nausea” aesthetics of minimal sound and noise, closing out with the haunting “It feels like a hundred years”. Basically, this EP is practically flawless – I just wish there was even more tracks!

9.5/10
Favourite tracks: 1 0 0,  M A R R O W, R O B  S M I T H.

Faith No More – Sol Invictus

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Even if you’re not into rock or metal that much, Faith No More is a name (and sound) that should be recognisable, considering the collective was a powerhouse in the alt metal circle of the 80s/90s, and for good reason. How could anyone deny the impact that Epic, Midlife Crisis and Falling To Pieces had on the teenagers of the time! Unfortunately, the band split after “Album Of The Year” and “Sol Invictus” is their first release in 18 years, so how does it hold up…

Simply: it’s Faith No More. They’ve picked up where they’ve left off, still happily indulging in their experimental influences outside of rock with jazz, funk, pop, hip-hop, lounge and myriads of others, too many to name. Vocalist Mike Patton’s range is as varied as ever and FNM can clearly pen some catchy tracks still, especially with the likes of Sunny Side Up, Motherfucker and Superhero.

Honestly, there’s not that much to say about this album. If you’re a big FNM fan, the chances you’ll enjoy this are extremely high. It has the same feeling as their classics “Angel Dust” and “Album Of The Year”; it could easily slip between the two. Is the album cohesive, nope. Is every track absolutely memorable, not that either – but it is a great album for a band that hasn’t had any output of new material in a long, long time.

7.8/10
Favourite tracks: Sunny Side Up, Motherfucker, From The Dead.

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