Recloose – Perfect Timing (Kruger music review)

This music review was written for Kruger magazine in July 2008. I loved Recloose’s early stuff and was disappointed by the Perfect Timing album. I wanted to communicate this in a way that didn’t sound too snarky. In hindsight I think I failed…

Artist: Recloose
Album: Perfect Timing
Label: Sonar Kollektiv

Close your eyes and imagine you’re an underground dance music producer. You are a master in the studio and can play it like it’s your instrument. You also do pretty mean jazz saxophone, thanks very much. You’ve been honing your craft for years, and after meeting digital soul legend Carl Craig for lunch in Detroit circa 1997, you get hooked up with Planet E records and become the toast of the underground. Later, Gilles Peterson and other “heads” rush up to shake your hand at tastemaker club gigs as you notch up sweet little records like Cardiology (hey, nice one on that Isolee version!). Later still you truly arrive – in a strictly underground sense – with the dancefloor-conquering deep house anthem Dust. BUT! After years of performing and DJing in trendsetter clubs, mere low level success is getting a bit… trying. For instance you dearly love Prince and long to make classic hit albums like him. As you’ve no doubt twigged by now, you are Recloose. Full marks if you read this far with your eyes still closed. Anyway, your career. You’ve reached the same crossroads as many talented people before you. It’s almost textbook stuff! What to do to get wider acclaim? You know, take it to the next level? Just get some nagging pop hooks, in this case scat soul vocals. Form an 8-piece band who are impossibly tight live. Rid yourself of anything resembling DEEPNESS – in other words, lose the subtle quirks and dark little innovations (that made you so special in the first place). It’s the way of the world – as one promising artist moves on, we can look for another to spring up in the gap. Recloose is making a serious play for the coffee table market here. We can only wish him all the best.

More Kruger stuff on this blog.

Prod – The Artworks Formerly Known As Prints (Kruger music review)

Music review written in July 2008 for Kruger magazine.

Artist: Prod
Album: The Artworks Formerly Known As Prints
Label: Pollinate Records

New artist, new album, new label. Prod could potentially be lumped in with multi-talented producer-soul singer peeps like Jamie Lidell, Mocky, maybe Hot Chip at times… Prod is a street geek who’s mastered skittery 2-step beats and rude bass hiccups. Full marks for the beat science which is tight – and club-friendly in that the rhythms are all quantised. In other words, a DJ might play it and you could dance to it and it’s not really the kind of thing you expect from a trained saxophonist called Duncan. So he knows his way around a small studio. Against the peers mentioned above, it’s the glitch jazz element that’s his unique selling point. And you know, it kind of works too. Despite the busyness of an hour of cut-up breakbeats, live instrumentation, cheeky bleeps and boy-girl soul duets, the whole suite comes over surprisingly focused and accomplished. That said, the quirk factor is high and your reaction to this album will depend on whether you can deal with the earnest whispery blue-eyed soul vocals (see also: Lidell, again). The titular reference to the purple one is no mistake – this is possibly the kind of experimental pop album that Prince himself should be making if he weren’t busy wading through cash and suing YouTube.

More Kruger stuff on this blog.