Slugabed - Time Team
"It's to do with deep feelings about mostly inexpressible things." says the wonderfully monikered Slugabed (Greg Feldwick) of Time Team, his first full-length release.
At face value, the publicity material's description of the record might suggest visions of music being created in some untidy 'high-pressure' laboratory packed with an 'inner core' of steampunk contraptions, surrounded by hermetically sealed glass tanks full of 'crystal growth'.
Skip the blurb and head straight into the album however, and the experience may be more akin to walking into an old curiosity shop from the future past that specialises in digital audio freakery. Shelves bustling with preternatural samples, dusty cupboards barely managing to contain spiralling drum patterns and a floor shaking with deep synth bass lines and lively oscillators.
The tick-tock of a Grandfather Clock is in here. Snatches of conversation appear and disappear. Wolves howl. Beats glitch, scratch and click. And in it's own disjointed and patchwork way, Time Team somehow fits beautifully together.
It's Gold Panda remixing the Avalanches, with Aphex Twin as the consultant. It's warmer than Pixelord's treble-high output and sleeker than the more aggressive bleep end of Lazersword's music. Time Team is, at least for now, in a league of its own. Valuably, it's also a record for dancing, and for listening, mainly due to the moments of familiarity and structure interspersed with unpredictable drops and strange polytonal twists.
Nods to IDM, avant-garde and industrial are scattered throughout, and whilst future bass is the cornerstone of most tracks (see 'Moonbeam Rider', 'Unicorn Suplex' and 'Grandma Paints Nice' in particular), Slugabed's style is still fairly broad and accessible.
The balearic and chip tune synths over a fierce percussive loop on killer track 'Mountains Come Out Of The Sky' could easily be smelted down to make a dark dubplate, or equally, transformed into a bright and bouncy uplifting house remix. Indeed, while most tracks are three or four minutes in length, played straight the album sounds and flows like an extended mix.
Time Team is a deep record, difficult to express and describe in words alone. One thing is clear though: it's a strong debut from a talented producer. As Ninja Tune put it themselves, "you'll be hearing a lot more of Slugabed."