31 January 2014

Shackleton - Freezing Opening Thawing


Just in time for a mordant shot at the Easter Number 1, here comes Shackleton again; his last album was a work of necessarily flawed genius - or necessary and flawed or floored genius - it ought to have been everyone’s favourite album of the year but often got a little missed, as if it was just too singular, too far gone, too much. You ought to be ashamed of yourself. Now, that album sort of skittered, drifting across lines, missing beats and breaks, losing itself in the mystery of moments. It was also taaalllkkkyyyyyy whereas this 12" is back to the slightly clipped, voices breaking through, approach of the previous incarnation.

It's less fluttery, more robust, a return to Form (as opposed to a return to form which would demean him and this and is, anyway, duckfuckingly wrong in all ways). This has a sheered off quality, like the inside of a chainsawed cow. It seems likely that in some other version there is more stuff (the other half) but these slices work just perfectly as they are; the small-scale, almost pretty, triangular motifs and lilts of “Silver Keys,” for example, would get lost in a denser soundworld; here they achieve a beautiful simplicity and work as a lovely counterpoint to the rapidly approaching Zulu drums.

You know they are coming, they always come. Here they come. Failing faster, to paraphrase Beckett.

I guess this would sit alongside those compilation albums he did in the midst of the first dubstep flush (Shackleton transcended those limitations as quickly as he emerged, holding down beats and bass but using tom toms like holding tanks) and many people will recognise the great thumping hummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm that feeds the Shackleton heart. It’s a great sound, one that quickly gets under your skin and genuinely renders his tracks immediately recognisable. This wouldn’t be made by anyone else, which is different and better than couldn't be made by anyone else.

At times, this might even be an exotic lull in the middle of one of the more difficult Orbital albums (0h come on, don't be such a snob; there were diffIcult Orbital albums). I’d like to hear his take on Orbital’s Snivilisation, for instance. I can’t see how that could go wrong. and Someone make this happen, on a triple LP. Certainly, there are tracks (or rather, parts of tracks) that give off a welcome (updated) sniff of some of the other inhabitants of Planet Dog. If some transcendental God-thing managed to turn Eat Static inside out and found they could still play this would be the music it would hear.
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