According to my memory bank of musical fancies, I had discovered Slugabed a month before their debut album release. Greg Feldwick had obviously done enough to tickle me at the time but it appears I didn’t explore that sensation further. But after trawling through the hard drive, it’s refreshing to remember that not all producers side with the masses and pump out heart-pounding bass and floor-sizzling hooks.
That’s not to say you can’t dance to this album though – ‘Unicorn Suplex’ has a particularly satisfying bassline which is cut up by layers that fire off in all directions. It’s a dance that probably looks more psychedelic than ecstatic. But it’s the variety that the ears find most pleasing. As the conservation relatively conservative ‘Unicorn Suplex’ transitions into ‘Dragon Drums’, you are now treated to a track that is one of Sluga’s more ethereal offerings. The echoes and hums are reminiscent of sounds at a Buddhist ritual and as layers are gradually piled on, the tune becomes more and more ambient.
‘Earth Claps’ is another thoroughly enjoyable tune. Its spacey synths nod towards the futuristic sound of Rustie but without the schizophrenic pace and less percussive punch. ‘New World’ on the other hand, employs a glitchy but evocative resonance that sounds more like Gold Panda. And then you have ‘All This Time’ which is the most spiritual sounding track on the album. It’s probably the most enjoyable track on the album as its sonic palette rings through long after the track has finished. Disappointingly though, it’s the second shortest tune.
The album almost has too much variety – if ever there was such a thing! Sometimes it feels like the album is trying to do too much. There’s no doubt that the tunes are thoughtfully crafted but there appears to be an inherent lack of focus of direction. It’s like he has an array of chimes reverberating around his skull and he’s just tried to put them all into this one album. As a result, a couple of tracks get lost in the vast and impressive soundscape the album creates. But we’ll let him off; it is Sluagbed’s debut LP after all, and what a debut.