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- Trojandropper by Neil Campbell & Robert Horton
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Astral Socialite and former Vibracathedral Neil Campbell and The Appliances’ Robert Horton are an unlikely pairing for a collaboration. For starters, the pair have never actually met in person, with this LP being painstakingly constructed via post and at one point nearly thwarted by a trojan dropper virus on Horton’s computer, hence the title. They persevered, though, and the results are contained here on this LP.
Although I’m unfamiliar with Horton’s work (and I’ve no doubt his contribution to this album is far more than token given the amount and variety of instruments he’s listed as playing in the liner notes), this has Campbell’s stamp all over it, with murky, slightly euphoric techno polyrhythms amidst a morphing, twitching landscape of hypnotic squelch-loops and fleeting melodies. Here allied with Horton he heads further into noisy free expression and droney relaxo-loop territory than the usual smudged Balearic psychedelia, but if I’d been told it was Astral Social Club before hearing it I certainly wouldn’t have had trouble believing it. Particularly enjoying the honk’n’shred fever drones of ‘Slush Flotsam Bunny’ with a slow, sinewy bassline and fluttery rhythm that lend an almost tropical grace to the unfolding chaos, and the undulating digi-squelch melodi-drone of ‘Cut-Free Taste Death’.While it does get pretty bonkers at times, it never seems overcrowded and there’s always a pleasant, propulsive and varied thread of tangible melodies and head-nodding rhythms keeping my attention from wandering. It’s noisy and freewheeling but somehow avoids seeming confrontational with it, instead inviting us along for a splash around in their amalgamated tone palettes. A welcome reminder that even experimental music can be indulgently fun sometimes. Apparently it was originally supposed to be a disco record. It’s not a disco record.
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