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- Nice by Speculator
9/10 Li'l Biz Staff review, 09 November 2011
Always pleased to encounter new releases on NJ's Underwater Peoples label. In my opinion they have a great track record for releasing under the radar gems that eventually get the credit and attention they deserve. This new slice of wax is by Speculator a.k.a Nick Ray. This is his debut album though the press release implies he has a few other releases/remixes under his belt. Unlike previous efforts 'Nice' is an attempt by the artist to avoid sample technology in favour of straight up playing and singing. The result is a lo-fi, experimental take on Rock and Pop themes with clattering dram machines, tape saturated guitars and simplistic vocal motifs being the primary tools. 'Nice' was chosen as the title to reflect the nature of the music itself which is ultimately very tuneful and enjoyable to listen to. The production style brings to mind Rangers with its woolly, crass and yet ultimately rewarding mix. The blend of instruments seems to be deliberately uneven to accentuate the most significant aspects of each track. I wouldn't be surprised if this was recorded on the same four-track it sounds so similar. That and the occasional nod to James Ferarro's clumsy tape editing style and Cameron Stallones's (Sun Araw) dubby new-age tendencies. Musically it brings to mind the players that surround this whole scene whilst invoking elements of 80's new wave pop, dream-pop, goth, shoegaze and punk rock. Gonna take another couple of listens to fully digest but from the first side I'm already committed to a purchase. Long live U.P. Records! Long live the Speculator!
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