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Q: Does it get any better than this? A: Fuck no! 2020 re-press of the first release on PAL SL, the label Baby Ford set up to what, go even darker and trippier and more coolly refined than what he was doing in parallel and godlike with Ifach and Trelik. The three deep, labyrinthine minimal tekno (or is it house and do you care) cuts here capture yer man at the absolute height of his powers, an insanely productive imperial phase that culminated in 97’s Headphoneeasyrider (still kicks any UK dance album of that era into touch>>>).
What makes this stuff so mesmerising 30+ years on? Why has it aged better than virtually any UK house or techno of similar vintage? Dunno. Something about the way it manages to be haunting and introspective but with a certain dandyishness and slink.. It's remorselessly repetitive gear, even by the generic standards of kling klang, risking tedium in its efforts to break on thru to whatever resides on the other side...but the more attention you pay to it, the more fiendishly and shape-shifting and prismatic it's revealed to be...produced with fairly rudimentary means, it has a depth and feel and black-hole-voluptuousness to it that the laptoppers could only dream of; we’d have to wait for Villalobos to hit his stride in the mid-2000s before anything really came close.
A club is where you want to hear these productions stretch out but thankfully, given how remote n fantastical that scenario is in pandemicky April 2020, the 22-minute-long SL 01 also works as a kind of spannered machine-jazz LP...it's its own world, mysterious and immersive, with its own bizarre and compelling internal logic. 'Slow Hand' spins ten truly engrossing, entropic minutes out of an almost obnoxious two-note organ-hook but it’s the gloomy gluey insanely meandering clarinet-like bassline that sucks you into the vortex and refuses to let go. Music that makes you feel like you're on nauseatingly strong drugs even when you're not, but especially when you are. A masterwork. ‘Tall For His Height’ is more of an aerial assault on the dancefloor, but the best comes last: Kez's ultra-stripped freek-funk, a close cousin of Ford's own mighty 'Mobile Home', doesn't build or break down or drop in any kinda conventional matter, there's no sense of beginning or end, just an endless kind of rotational improvisation on the most remorsessly linear of themes. Ugh, DESCRIBING TECHNO--
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