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- Strategy by Strategy
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There are very few people producing dub/kraut/disco/techno/ambience with the consistency of Portland’s Paul Dickow AKA Strategy. All his releases seem to veer off into new territories whether it be the dubbed out bliss of the ‘Super Awareness is Fruit’ 12” (Under The Spire) or the slinky dub funk of the ‘Box Music’ 12” on 100% Silk. This time again there is plenty new added to the melting point - certainly post-punk funk and more suprisingly a heavier reliance on vocals.
Opener ‘Sugar Drop’ is like nothing I’ve yet heard from Strategy, aimed at both the dancefloor and perhaps even the charts, it features clanking percussion, great deep dubby bass and potentially divisive vocals making the whole thing sound somewhat like LCD Soundsystem taking on the Tom Tom Club, it’s a messy tuneful blast of a tune. ‘Objects of Desire’ features skittery production, gloopy electronics and a sound not unlike Toro Y Moi’s ‘Causers of This’. It’s pretty darn brilliant. The press release defines ‘Baby Fever’ as a potential hit, always a worrying sign and in fact this is the moment when appeal for me seems to wane, a little too obvious and eager to please, scratchy guitar is matched with punk funk vocals and awful sax coming across like one of A Certain Ratio’s lesser efforts.
Thankfully, on the flip ‘Friends and Machines’ is a sublime slice of post-Talking Heads, post-Pigbag LCD Soundsystem squelshy disco funk. It’s a revelation. ‘Objects of Desire’ takes Stevie Wonder’s lolloping reggae inflected blueprint of ‘Master Blaster’ - heads off toward the soundsystem, brings in whispered vocals and clanging metallic beats whilst closer ‘Dilemmas’ introduces ‘real’ drums hammering away under a fuzzy sonic stew. Overall an impressive, immediately satisfying smorgasbord of sound which survives the odd mis-step to showcase perfectly the myriad talents of the man involved. It’s a hyper energetic record and occasionally you are left yearning for some downbeat ear cleansing tracks but Strategy is onto something with the sounds he creates and its a delight to find one artist not content to repeat the same old tricks ad nauseam.
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