Album Review: Tone of Arc / ‘The Time Was Right’ (No.19 Music)

tone of arc the time was right


Derrick Boyd starts with some real rock ‘n’ roll with not-gone-to-bed-yet swagger. Doing the twangy dance/punk-funk/DIY disco thing that sticks up the dance floor, yet unafraid to grab a keyboard and ensure all eyes are on him as a synth evangelist, the transition from blasé, on-the-road icon to retuning the glam and chasing stardom/stars means timing really is everything.

To make you buy into Boyd and Zoe Presnick’s vision, they impersonate a Parliament-style unit with less pizzazz (though the title track gets close) and more streetwise attitude posting freedom of spirit in its own rough-and-ready way. “Chalk Hill” has got some serious boogie to it, flumed in cigarette smoke and the psychedelic collision “Lost in the Machine” is part freestyled jam, part culmination of everything crashing down around them. The languid performance means seduction is an obvious knock-on, a picture of greasy cool, faded cologne and fumbling groupies where “Where You Belong” murmurs the groggiest of come-ons.

Eighties electro-popper “Goodbye Horses” is a complete wardrobe change that hangs around in cold light, and highlights the restless (or relentless) mood of Boyd always wanting to be into something. Improbably perhaps, it provides substance to when the hazed and bedraggled vocals need back-up. Track by track the vibe looks to settle down, the gruff funk simmered down into a gleam until it becomes born again, notwithstanding the “Hardly Standing” explosion from a shoegaze torpor. An album to get tongues wagging.

File under: Dead Seal, Tussle, Matthew Dear

Compilation Review: ‘Art Department Social Experiment 003’ (No.19 Music)

art department social experiment 003


The usual deep house majesty from the Art Department and No.19, but this time there’s a pressure pushing down on Experiment number three, a feeling that all connected are trying to keep their cool and enjoying the challenge of keeping the flustered at bay. A little tetchiness here and irritability there, a reoccurring state-of-the-union address, and in some cases, seeing if the warpath is clear for takeoff, it keeps moving forward the ethos of Jonny White and Kenny Glasgow. Darkly sophisticated, bass loaded (Brigante’s mix of Ali Love’s “The Jungle” forcefully using the feel-by-sound model), and anything but casual as it puts slashes into the session’s urbane upholstery, joints and muscles are rarely given a chance to loosen throughout.

Robert Owens takes over AD’s mix of “Tomorrow Can Wait,” dulcet tones reflecting ghostly-like upon Luca C & Brigante’s iced waters across nine minutes of back to ‘88 instruction that baby may want to ride — an illusion repeated on Jakkin Rabbit’s tech-enforced “Full of Dreams.” Jamie Jones’ “Doctor Blue” attempts to outrun a flickering synth cell, and Bryan Ferry’s suaveness becomes cautionary on Carl Craig’s testing, bubbling remix of DJ Hell’s “U Can Dance,” while the doldrums are most mined on AD’s authoritative “Robot Heart”. All told it’s a fairly unrelenting mix, building on its own brand of persuasion and only easing off a touch come its finale. Style and sweat in perfect harmony.

File under: Gregorythyme, Catz n Dogz, My Favorite Robot