Album Review: Tussle / ‘Tempest’ (Smalltown Supersound)


Back in the days of Kling Klang and Telescope Mind, San Francisco punk-dance power source Tussle got down to the bare bones and nitty gritty of primal house. As if struck by an epiphany telling them that a myriad of effects lies beyond their basement-jam bass and drum formula, Tempest takes their sound out of a two dimensional clench. While their bass scales and drums thumped with caveman command remain, the assistance of JD Twitch means freestyled and improvised meetings with pedals and knobs warms to a scuzzy, post-Cream Cuts psychedelica.

Tussle’s appeal through a scorn for sound levels and keeping inside the lines, now has “Moondog” and “Yellow Lighter” seeing brightness and opportunities. It’s still raw and funky, stubborn and chisel-cheeked, but better rounded, and that’s not to say they’ve become all musician either. They’re trying new things out, letting instinct guide them and making things fit. “Cat Pirate” fills the sound bed with as much old skool computer hardware as it can handle as if holding up a thrift store — the beat goes on while Tussle ask what does this button do, and what happens when they slide this lever. “P44” is DIY disco with a siphon of funk confusion, like rock stars snorting moondust, and “Eye Context” is the punk-funk getting harder and slicker. A change for the better, all while still shaggily throwing instruments around.
File under: Optimo, Liquid, Gang Gang Dance

Album Review: Mungolian Jetset / ‘Mungodelics’ (Smalltown Supersound)


Passport, suntan lotion, sunglasses, Mungoldelics – sorted. Anything to declare? Well in quickly following last year’s Schlungs, progressive deep house and cosmic disco heads for the secret inlet slash tourist trap selling you a pittance of eight tracks, but pledging magic in the air from the get-go. The Norwegian pair’s showdown with Jaga Jazzist on opening act “Toccata” has the potential to be this year’s sun-hits-the-sky moment, where Knut Saevik and Pal ‘Strangefruit’ Nyhus carry a friendly, stick-with-us vision (forgive the titles for sounding goofy) within the happy phantasm of the Mung science.

Fleetwood Mac-ish house pours casual drinks on the balcony before stepping onto the dance floor with the ready and set “Smells Like Gasoline” – deep house 101 admittedly, complete with breakout piano chords, but integral to developing a spirit matched with a doggedness. “Mung’s Picazzo” inserts a dubby, ‘find yourself’ trudge that seems kind of inevitable, but again fits the grand scheme in always keeping the lounge open.

“People on Strong Stuff” disappoints with its pasty vocal and is not the sung encouragement that would top the album off (not sure about the soft rock screeching involved either). “Ghost in the Machine” redeems with a stepper that’s hard-nosed, bassy, bouncy, mind-opening and with a great funky switch-up all in one, and “The Dark Incal” gives an end-of-the-night performance locking onto ravers’ spheres of emotion. Don’t leave home without it.
File under: Lindstrøm, John Talabot, Knights of Jumungus