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- Music For The Quiet Hour / The Drawbar Organ by Shackleton
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So exciting, nothing for ages then a double album from Sam Shackleton!! The gist is this: Mr. S was planning an EP and a long-form album but with artistic ambition knowing no boundaries; and this being the work of a producer known for his bending of space and time in rhythm; the EP became the album and the album became a triple 12" set (Now sold out in the box format but available in individual pieces soon, sorry!!). Yes the expansive and mind-swelling qualities of his music have even affected the formats you now have in your hands and boy, this multiple-sided mood enhancing blinder of a box is a Spring treat powerful and intoxicating enough to leave all those novelty RSD releases everyone is clamouring for standing in the dust. 'Music For The Quiet Hour' is the more discreet album blending trippy ambient vistas with the more reflective end of bass culture to create five liquid pieces that form what is probably his first "chill out" record. There is one period when his trademark grooves come into play in any really distinct fashion and the ingenious use of samples is familiar but just letting your ears soak this in confirms that you're listening to a modern Zen master of electronic music. I'm sure I heard a faint whiff of prime Warp-era Black Dog on one of the many lengthy and absorbing works and Tenfold Vengeance pops up with some deep 'n' conscious vocals in various places although the foreboding Spaceape-like dread of earlier collaborations isn't so apparent. This very widely expanded EP is much more suited to the CD format thinks Sam and he's right, this is a sublime journey you really don't wanna flip.The Drawbar Organs EPs on the other hand come more heavily identifiable as Shackleton tunes with that circling, playful percussion, seductive low-end and hypnotic peppering of samples used as flooring in many circumstances but something palpable has been fleshed out on the surface. I'm finding a distinct, rich kosmische element in many of the textural stylings, his immersion on the Harmonia remix project no doubt had him digging deep into that wonderful esoteric world where the synthesizer is worshipped like a megalithic god. He's used an Italian drawbar organ module on many of these tracks to create an exotic, vintage sound and the mood throughout is spacey, playful, (even more) spiritual and lighter than older material but possibly more detailed than ever before. Like I mentioned earlier, this sounds like if he'd travelled back in time and handed over a concept album to a pair of stunned Warp records lads in Sheffield in the mid 90s, these EPs have that classic Artificial Intelligence depth and quality, a widescreen harmony, peace and melodic dynamism married to the space and crispness of much of todays's techno and experimental bass music where he reigns supreme. One of my favourite artists of the last ten years has just excelled himself again, I just got some hairs standing up on the nape of my neck a minute ago, don't delay on this please, it's very limited and a gorgeous package to boot with much mad art from Zeke Clough.
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